What do they do? Registered nurses are an indispensable link in the health care chain and perform duties like providing advice and emotional support to patients' family and recording medical histories. They also help perform diagnostic tests, analyze results and administer treatment and medications. Patient follow-up and rehabilitation is a key duty most nurses are expected to perform when on the job. Nursing is a specialized medical field and some Registered Nurses specialize in particular kinds of work environments and treatments.
How to get there: There are three typical educational paths to a registered nurse’s license. One can get a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree or a diploma from an approved nursing program. However, advanced practice nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anaesthetists, nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners need a master’s degree.
According to the US Department of Labor, a bachelor's or higher degree is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting and teaching.
Aside from formal education there are some qualities which are required for one to be a successful professional in this field. Nurses should be caring, sympathetic, responsible and detail oriented. They must be able to correctly assess patients' conditions and determine when consultation is required. They should remain calm in events of calamity and emergencies so that patients can look up to them for support and guidance.
Where are the jobs? As medical science and technology advance, more ailments and diseases are being identified and found a cure for. In such a scenario, the influx of patients in hospitals is on the rise. While rapid growth is foreseen in the system, the number of in patients is likely to be stable owing to faster procedures, medical techniques that provide for same day surgery.
Moreover; there is a rise in sophisticated procedures that can be performed out of hospitals. Due to this, growth is expected to be faster out of hospitals, in physicians' offices and in outpatient care centers. Registered professionals face greater competition for these positions because they generally offer regular working hours and more comfortable working environment.
Nursing as a profession is experiencing a dip these days mostly because of an aging RN workforce and a lack of younger workers to fill positions. Qualified applicants to nursing schools are being turned away because of a shortage of nursing faculty. This vacuum is likely to increase in the coming years. While job opportunities in this field are plenty, there are a few takers.