What to Know about Registered Nurses


You’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 12% by 2028, and 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.