Registered Nurses

Last updated December 31, 2014

TV programs portray nurses as the backbone of a hospital. They pick up the slack when medical students are lost and often go beyond the call of duty to meet patient needs. Nursing may not always be as exciting as it seems on TV, but there’s truth to these dramas.

No less important is the work of registered nurses (RNs) in home care and nursing home settings.  Regardless of where they’re employed, RNs play a critical role helping doctors take care of patients.

RNs provide patients with direct care and help doctors. They are also health educators, working with individuals and communities to prevent illness and improve health.

Did You Know?

If you start work without a bachelor’s degree, your employer might help foot the bill while you work toward one.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Care for patients who might be confused, irrational, or depressed
  • Assist doctors during physical exams or surgery
  • Educate patients and their families about health and recovery
  • Make sure that patients get the right medicine
  • Keep track of patient vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Create plans for keeping nursing home residents healthy
  • Specialize in an area of medicine if you work in a large hospital or doctor’s office
  • Work flexible hours

It Helps To Be...

Caring, sympathetic, and able to take orders -- and give them. Emotional strength and stability are also crucial to the job. You will experience human suffering and a great deal of stress, but others will rely on you for quick thinking and sound advice. 

Make High School Count

  • Take plenty of challenging math and science courses.
  • Explore the mind-body connection in psychology.
  • Enhance your communication skills in English, drama, and speech classes.
  • Study a foreign language so you’ll be able to reach out to and communicate with different communities and patients.
  • Volunteer to work at a health clinic, a hospital, a women’s clinic, or an eldercare facility.

I just like hearing 'thank you’ one hundred times a day and knowing that you're making a difference in somebody's life.” -- Robert, Registered Staff Nurse