Registered nurses (RN's) work to promote health, to prevent disease, and to help patients to cope with illness and disability. They are the advocates and health care educators for patients, families and communities. As providers of direct patient care they observe, assess and record the symptoms, reactions, and progress of patients. They assist physicians during examinations, treatments, and surgeries. They administer medications and assist in rehabilitation and convalescence. RN's in nurse scrubs also develop and implement nursing care plans; they instruct patients and families in proper care; and they help individuals and groups to take steps to maintain or improve their health. Most registered nurses work in hospitals, providing bedside nursing care and carrying out medical treatments. RN's may supervise licensed practical nurses (LPN's) and nursing aides.
Usually hospital nurses are assigned to one department, such as pediatrics, maternity, surgery, intensive care, emergency room, or cancer treatment. Some RN's rotate among different departments. Other registered nurses deliver outpatient care working for physicians' offices, clinics, emergency medical centers, and ambulatory surgical centers. These RN's assist with examinations, administer medications and injections, dress incisions and wounds, assist in minor surgery, and maintain patients' records. Some RN's in scrubs uniform also perform routine laboratory work and office clerical work. RN's who work in nursing care facilities manage residents' care and deal with conditions of the elderly from fractures to Alzheimer's disease.
Besides administrative tasks, these RN's assess residents' health, develop plans for treatment, supervise LPN's and nursing aides, and perform some invasive procedures such as giving intravenous fluids. RN's also work in long-term rehabilitation facilities for patients who had strokes or head injuries. Home health RN's provide patients nursing services in their homes. They assess the patients' home environments, and they instruct patients and families. Home health care nurses must be able to work on their own and to supervise home health care aides. They may care for a wide range of patients, such as childbirth, patients recovery from illnesses or accidents, or cancer patients.
Public health RN's work in private and governmental agencies including schools, clinics, retirement communities, and other community health care facilities. They work with individuals, families, and groups to improve the overall health of the community. They work with communities to plan and implement programs of education and treatment. Public health RN's instruct individuals, their families, and other groups with regard to health issues such as nutrition, preventative care, and childcare. They organize public immunizations, test blood pressure, and perform other health screening services. Occupational health RN's (industrial nurses) in scrub pants provide nursing care in the workplace for employees and customers with injuries and illnesses.
They provide emergency care, fill out accident reports, and arrange for further medical care when necessary. They offer health counseling, give inoculations, conduct examinations, and assess the work environment to identify actual or potential health problems. Registered nurses are the largest healthcare occupation, with over 2.3 million jobs. More new registered nurse jobs are expected to be created than any other occupation. Nursing job opportunities and pay are expected to be very good. The three principle educational paths to a registered nursing career are a diploma, an associate degree, and a bachelor's degree.