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Registered Nurse - What they do and how to become an RN?

Training Required to Become a Registered Nurse

There are many two-year, three-year and four-year nursing programs offering nursing programs. The entrance requirements are often a high school diploma, application and a series of entrance exams including math and English tests and an essay. You do need to check with each specific facility and program for exact entrance requirements as they do change.

Once the course is complete, each student must pass a state licensing test. Every state requires nurses to be licensed. If a nurse moves from one state to another, they have to complete another state examination to be licensed in the new state.

Nursing as a profession is changing and so are the training requirements. There will soon be 2 specific levels defined as Technical and Professional. Technical will encompass nurses with Associate's degrees and Professional nurses will have a minimum of a Bachelor degree. Registered nurses will be able to start working after completing an Associate's degree, but those nurses wanting to be case managers or supervisors will need to complete a Bachelor degree. Advanced-practice nursing will require a Master of Science in Nursing.

What do Registered Nurses do?

Registered nurses are often responsible for day to day care of admitted patients and out-patients. They can work in hospitals or care facilities doing 8-12 hour shifts. Nursing can be a very physical and mental occupation. The job often requires lots of walking, lifting patients, stretching and bending. The positive side of nursing though is the ability to help and care for the patients as they work through the many medical issues they may have. Nursing jobs consist of two parts; the technical or medical side, which includes giving shots, updating patient records, and providing proper medications and the personal side including educating patients and families and providing friendly emotional support.

Registered nurses can also be found doing non-patient related jobs from medical writers and educators to health insurance case managers and nurse paralegals.

Registered nurses comprise the largest employee group within the health care field. They are often guiding patients and families through the use of education, nursing care plans, patient evaluations and patient monitoring.

Registered Nursing Specialties

With some additional specific training, registered nurses can specialize in a certain field such as pediatrics or mental health. Nurse often feel more connected to one type of nursing and therefore want to explore growth and more continued education in that field. Through continuing education (which is required) nurses can choose to develop their skills and expand their knowledge in a particular segment of health care.

Quite often nurses who specialize also advance their careers through job growth and responsibility as well as increasing their earnings.

Sometimes Registered nurses will choose to become Advanced-Practice nurses. There are 4 types: Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.

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