Registered Nurse
 
I. Job Outlook:

II. Job Requirements/Prerequisites:

III. Education/Training Resources:

IV. Getting A Job:

V. Back To Career Guide Home Page

      

Occupation Overview

Registered nurses care for injured or ill patients and represent the largest health care occupation. Most people might think of nurses as working in hospitals or doctors offices, but there are many other places they also work: nursing homes, schools, and patients' homes.

In the year 2000 there were over 15,000 Registered Nurses in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. According the 2002-2003 Occupational Outlook Handbook (provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), this occupation is expected to be one of the top ten for providing new jobs.

Approximately 90% of nurses are female, and most jobs are union jobs. Nurses often work in settings where they risk exposure to infectious diseases, and they follow strict guidelines to protect themselves.

Earnings for RNs are above average, and since hospitals operate around the clock, a variety of work schedules are available, full- or part-time. Job prospects in the Bay Area are excellent, particularly for those with an area of specialization and/or critical care experience.

    
 

Future Growth Opportunities

Opportunities for Advancement:
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Head Nurse, Nurse Manager, Director of Nursing.

Skills Transferable to:
Different areas of specialization (Staff Nurse, Surgical Nurse, Pediatric Nurse, Obstetrics Nurse, Critical Care Nurse), Nursing Teacher, Physician's Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist.

    
 

Job Descriptions

Most RNs spend the majority of their time with patients: listening to them, teaching them, and sometimes performing tests and providing treatments. There are many types of positions available for RNs including:

Hospital Nurses provide bedside care to patients in hospitals and nursing facilities. Over half of all RNs work in hospital settings, typically working in a single area such as surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, or the emergency room. They work with the patients and their families, provide care, administer medications, and record progress.

Office Nurses work with patients in doctors' offices and clinics, preparing patients for the physician, obtaining a medical history and description of the current ailment, dressing wounds, and performing some routine lab and/or office work. They also assist the physician in performing test and treatment.

Nursing Home Nurses provide longer-term care to patients in nursing homes.

Home Health Nurses provide care to patients in their homes. They can assess the needs of a patient and educate the patient's family to prepare them to assist in the care of the patient.

Registered Nurses might supervise others, such as Home Health Aides, Nursing Aides, or Licensed Practical Nurses.

Entry Level: $10 - 27 / hour ($21 / hour average)

Experienced, New to Job: $12 - 36 / hour ($25 / hour average)

Experienced in Job: $14 - 46 / hour ($30 / hour average)

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