What is a Registered Nurse?


nurse with patient1You’ve likely heard the term ‘RN’ – but do you know what one is, or what one does? RN stands for registered nurse, which, to put it broadly, is a licensed professional who provides direct medical care to patients.

Registered nurses are in great demand in recent years due to an aging nurse population; for every eight retiring nurses there are only five going into nursing leaving a deficit balance of nurses filling vacant positions.  Even the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics expects registered nursing jobs to grow by 19 percent by 2022, this growth is much faster than the average growth in other industries.

But if your idea of a registered nursing job is large hospitals with brightly lit hallways, this is only one option of working environments for nurses. The day-to-day work environment of a registered nurse can vary greatly. Though, the higher education level and training you possess – such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing versus an Associates Degree – the more autonomy and decision-making liberties you’ll enjoy in your job.

RN Duties and Responsibilities

Here are some of the duties and responsibilities you can expect from registered nurses:

  • Supervising LPNs, CNAs and nursing students
  • Administer medications; both oral and intravenously
  • Assuring a physician’s medical orders are carried out
  • Collaborating with physicians and other health professionals
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their loved ones
  • Teaching patients about their health conditions and providing treatment instructions and provide discharge planning

Skills Needed for Success as an RN

Skills to succeed in a registered nursing role:

  • Comprehensive understanding of human physiology and anatomy
  • An abundance of patience
  • Ability to operate computer systems
  • A passion to help others
  • Analytical assessments using critical thinking skills
  • Exceptional organizational skills

Of course, any good registered nurse must also have great interpersonal skills since the majority of the job involves interacting with people. It’s not easy talking to a busy surgeon one minute and then calmly explaining an upcoming procedure to a woman who’s hard of hearing. Nurses must be able to interact swiftly and effectively with everyone they come into contact with.