Nurse: What They Do, How to Become One, Resources
Nurses are one of the most popular jobs in the United States. With more than 3 million jobs available annually, and a growth outlook of more than 13%. It is a vastly growing job title with high amounts of interest from job seekers.
What is a Nurse?
A Nurse is a medical practitioner who works in a private medical facility or hospital typically monitoring patients, administering medication, consulting with medical professionals, educating patients on upcoming treatments and more.
A Nurse will be one of the staff that a patient would see the most if they were to be a patient within a hospital or private medical facility. The Nurse is the staff member who is keeping a close record of all patient progress and ensures a healthy, happy stay within the medical facility.
How to Become a Nurse
To become a Nurse you will have to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing as well as pass state certifications in order to start practicing. Some of these examinations include the NCLEX-RN examination (National Council Licensure Examination) as well as receive a registered nurse certification and a BLS certification.
Most universities offer a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. The average cost of becoming a nurse in the United States can range anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 depending on the institution and the university type.
This degree typically takes four years to complete. Once completed, you may have an additional year of time spent receiving your state licenses in order to start practicing as a Registered Nurse.
Available or Alternative Jobs for a Nurse
While becoming a Nurses Assistant can be a great way to get involved in the nursing duties without the need of a four-year degree, once you have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, these jobs become available to you.
- Staff Nurse
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- Home Care Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Company Nurse
- Pain Management Nurse
- School Nurse
- Home Health Nurse
- Home Health Aide
- Nurse Practitioner
- Charge Nurse
- General Nurse Practitioner
- Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Informatics Nurse
While your nursing certification with vary based on state as well as a focus area for the type of nursing position you’re passionate about, below are the various types of certifications available to nurses to advance themselves within their field of study.
- American Heart Association BLS/CPR
- ACLS Certification
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification
- Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification
- Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification
- BLS Certification
- Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification
- Family Nurse Practitioner Certification
- Gerontological Nursing Certification
- Informatics Nursing Certification
- Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification
- National Council Licensure Examination
- National Healthcare Disaster Certification
- Nurse Executive Certification
- Nurse Executive, Advanced Certification
- Nursing Case Management Certification
- Nursing Professional Development Certification
- Pain Management Nursing Certification
- Pediatric Nursing Certification
- Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification
- Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification
Nurse Duties or Responsibilities
Below are the duties and responsibilities that would be expected of you as a Registered Nurse or Nurse.
- Maintaining accurate health care records and reports.
- Administer medications and monitoring patients for side effects.
- Prescribe assistive medical devices and related treatments.
- Record patients vital signs.
- Order medical diagnostic and clinical tests.
- Monitor, report, and record symptoms or changes in patient conditions.
- Administer non-intravenous medications.
- Assess, implement, plan, or evaluate patient nursing care plans by working with healthcare team members.
What is it Like to Be a Nurse?
duckface08 • Source: Reddit • January 17, 2013
A lot will depend on what type of nursing you do (big difference between a public health nurse, an ICU nurse, a palliative nurse, LTC nurse, etc.) and where you work (i.e. different policies and whole health care systems).
My experience: Gory? Check. I’ve seen my fair share of awful wounds, including a woman who was literally covered in open sores from shoulders down to her feet. Bloody? Check, from drawing blood samples to outright GI bleeds and bloody wounds. Horrific? It depends on your definition of horrific, but I would say yes. Heart-warming stories? I’ve seen those, too.
First and foremost, nursing is difficult. It’s physically demanding - being on your feet all day, lots of heavy lifting and turning, and sometimes you get so busy you don’t have time to eat or go to the bathroom. It’s mentally demanding - you’re constantly assessing, intervening, and re-assessing, using critical thinking skills, and always learning, learning, learning new things. Any decision you make can have huge consequences. It is emotionally demanding - you have to care for some very ill people and, sometimes, admit you can’t save everyone and watch people die and provide support to their loved ones.
Another aspect of nursing is dealing with people’s perception of what nursing really is. A lot of people still have this idea that nurses act as “doctor helpers” or something. “You’re just a nurse” is actually something several people have said to either me or my colleagues. Most patients and their families treat me well, but you get a few who are rude, condescending, overly demanding, etc., and basically show nurses no respect. You sometimes get crap from management, too, because in these days of downturning economies, nurses are seen as an expense rather than people who make a difference - we are constantly fighting against attempted cutbacks.
From all this, it probably sounds like I hate my job. It’s not easy at all, but I’d quit if I hated what I do. When I can see I am making a positive difference in someone’s life, it makes all the difficulties of my job worth it. Yesterday, at the end of my shift, one patient took my hand, looked me in the eye, and told me, “Thank you”, and that’s all I needed to feel good after a chaotic day. Or when we get to send people home, particularly after a long illness, that’s always a good feeling. We once sent home this woman with medical equipment previously on seen in hospitals, which took us months to arrange. She was so happy and grateful that she threw us/herself a mini goodbye party the day she left - she and her family provided the food and drinks.
Even with patients who end up dying, it can be extremely sad, but if I can provide them with comfort in their last hours, then I still believe it’s making a positive difference. Who wants to die in pain and suffering? No one. So I come on time with their pain medications, rub lotion into their skin when I can, reposition them frequently, provide warm blankets, and anything else I can do. Even that is helping people.
What types of nurses get paid the most?
The highest paying nursing jobs are Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. A General Nurse Practitioner. A Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. And a Pain Management Nurse.
What are the qualifications for being a nurse?
A Registered Nurse must have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), have a state license for being a Registered Nurse (BLS Certification), have BLC/CPR American Heart Association certification, ACLS certification and prior experience with nursing staff.
How many jobs are available for nurses?
In 2018, the number of nursing jobs rose to roughly 3,050,800 jobs available on an annual basis. With a 12% growth outlook (the number of jobs expected to rise in coming years), this is a job in high demand.
Do nurses only work in hospitals?
No. Only 15% of nurses work in hospitals. Private care facilities, private practices, and other medical facilities can house the job of a nurse.
Related Hiring ResourcesSchool Nurse Job Description Sample
Registered Nurse Cover Letter Sample
Registered Nurse Job Description Sample
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Charge Nurse Job Description Sample
Home Health Nurse Job Description
ICU Nurse Cover Letter Sample
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Sample
Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Sample
Neonatal Nurse Job Description Sample
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Job Description
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