Registered nurses, or RNs, are the largest healthcare occupation for good reason; they give patients medical care, educate them about their health issues, and offer emotional support. These medical professionals observe and record their patients’ condition. They help perform diagnostic tests to make effective plans for patient care. Before patients head home from a treatment or procedure, RNs explain how to manage the illness or injury. A core part of medical teams, they consult with doctors and other health care professionals and may oversee the work of other nurses and assistants. Registered nurses work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, home health care services, and nursing homes. Some work in correctional facilities or schools, or serve in the military. Nurses may also have the opportunity to travel, as they are needed across the U.S. and around the world. Risks—such as back injuries from lifting patients or exposure to infectious diseases and chemicals—are part of the job. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays, and be on call in off-hours. There are three paths to become an RN: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. They must also be licensed. Some nurses earn a master’s or doctoral-level degree and work in management, research, or academic settings. Combining competence with compassion, nursing is a career that improves —and even saves— many lives.
What they do:
Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.
On the job, you would:
Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records.
Administer medications to patients and monitor patients for reactions or side effects.
Record patients' medical information and vital signs.
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
understanding people's reactions
looking for ways to help people
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
pay attention to something without being distracted
do two or more things at the same time
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic mail software
Data base user interface and query software
Data entry software
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.