Registered nurses (RNs) assess patient health problems, coordinate patient care plans, educate patients, and provide physical/emotional support to both patients and family members.
Nurses are typically responsible for keeping records of patient’s medical history and symptoms, administering treatment medicines, consulting with doctors and other medical professionals, performing diagnostic tests, and operating medical equipment. Depending on their training, nurses can specialize in specific health conditions or regions of the body, such as neonatology, rehabilitation, dermatology, emergency care, or oncology.
How much does a nurse make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics record for May 2012, the mean annual registered nurse salary is $67,930, which translates to $32.66 per hour. The lowest ten percentile in the field earns an average of $45,040, while the top ten percentile makes $94,720 annually. Usually, the registered nurses with the highest salaries are those that have extensive experience in the field for 20 or more years. Nurses possessing only an associate’s degree can earn more with more years experience over those with a bachelor’s degree.
Registered nurses employed in general medical or surgical hospitals earn an average of $69,490, while those in nursing care facilities make an average of $61,220 each year. Some of the highest paying industries for nurses are the federal government at $79,270, universities at $74,540, and outpatient care centers at an average of $71,200.
In addition, job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to be excellent as a result of medical technology advancements, increased emphasis on preventative medicine, high nurse turnover rates, and the aging baby boomer population. Employment is predicted to grow at a faster than average rate of 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, which will create 711,900 new positions nationwide.
As the largest occupation within the healthcare industry, registered nurses hold more than 2.6 million jobs in a variety of different settings. 48 percent are employed in private medical or surgical hospitals, eight percent in physician offices, six percent in local hospitals, five percent in home health care services, and another 5 percent in nursing homes. Registered nurses can also work in government agencies, schools, correctional facilities, educational programs, and the military.
Since patients in hospitals and other facilities often require care 24/7, nurses may work in rotating shifts around the clock, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Nurses who work in offices or schools where patients do not stay overnight are more likely to work an eight-hour shift during regular business hours. Around 20 percent of nurses only work part-time schedules.