Registered Nurse (RN)

Job Description

Registered Nurses serve a critical role in the health-care industry by providing care for patients and educating people in the community. They work in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and schools. Registered Nurses, commonly called RNs, work as part of a team with doctors and other health-care providers. They also must be licensed.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Talk with patients and record their medical history
  • Perform diagnostic tests and interpret results
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Dispense medication
  • Consult with doctors and other care providers
  • Use a variety of medical equipment
  • Counsel patients and their families

Education and Background

Registered Nurses must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. They typically earn a bachelor’s degree, though some find work as an RN with an associate degree or diploma from a nursing program. All of these include hands-on clinical experience. Registered Nurses need to be licensed by the state where they work, which requires passing an exam and, in some cases, a background check. Nurses also can become certified in different specialties.

Skills and Competencies

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, doctors and staff
  • Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize workload
  • Physical stamina and emotional stability
  • Compassion and a calm, caring demeanor
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Keen attention to detail


According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Registered Nurse with

1 year of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $62,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $66,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $63,000
  • Miami, Florida: $70,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $71,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $72,000
  • Houston, Texas: $70,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $80,000
  • New York, New York: $76,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $78,000
  • Overall: $73,000

5 years of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $70,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $70,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $71,000
  • Miami, Florida: $76,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $80,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $75,000
  • Houston, Texas: $82,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $88,000
  • New York, New York: $90,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $85,000
  • Overall: $80,000

Similar Job Titles

Career Path

The first step to becoming a Registered Nurse is to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. An RN typically receives a bachelor’s degree, ideally in nursing, although some get an associate degree or diploma from an approved nursing program. To become licensed, Registered Nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Some states require additional steps such as a criminal background check and training in CPR and advanced cardiac life support. 

Position Trends

With an aging population, the demand for Registered Nurses will continue to be strong. Some RNs who want to improve their career prospects decide to get certified in a specific discipline, such as pediatrics or gerontology, although it’s not required. Also, some hospitals provide tuition reimbursement for nurses who are pursuing advanced degrees.

Many patients prefer to receive treatment at home or in residential care facilities, so more Registered Nurses will be needed to provide care in those settings.

The American Nurses Association offers a weekly roundup of industry news in collaboration with SmartBrief.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Registered Nurses is expected to grow by 12 percent for the next several years, which is much faster than average. The aging baby-boom population will increase demand for medical services. RNs with a bachelor’s degree and certification in a specific field will have more opportunities.

Typical Hours

Registered Nurses work a variety of schedules because some health-care facilities are open early in the morning, late at night, or 24 hours a day. As a result, RNs might work evenings, weekends or holidays. They frequently log more than 40 hours a week and often are on call, meaning they must be available to work on short notice.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • Zip Recruiter
  • Explore Health Careers
  • American Nurses Association

Are You Interested in Becoming a Registered Nurse?

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