Why Become a Nurse?

There is an old adage that you need a doctor to diagnose you, but a nurse to save your life. We can all recall a time when a nurse was needed most: from a normal check-up in a doctor’s office to an emergency situation that required a trip to the hospital.

Most people can think of a nurse who has played a significant role in their life at some time, whether it’s a family member, close friend, acquaintance, or the person you’ve been seeing at your doctor’s office for decades. You might even have a nurse in your contacts who you call if WebMD doesn’t quite answer your medical questions.

To become a nurse is to become someone who improves and saves the lives of others. If you’re looking for a career where you can put your desire to help others to excellent use, becoming a nurse is an excellent career path for you.

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What do Nurses Do?
Nurses have many duties, including caring for patients, communicating with doctors, administering medicine, and checking vital signs. Making up for the biggest healthcare job in the U.S., nurses play a vital role in medical facilities and enjoy a large number of job opportunities. The career growth for nursing is projected to increase by 16% in the next decade and provides a professionally and personally rewarding experience.
What is a Registered Nurse?
A registered nurse is a nurse who has obtained a nursing degree, has passed the NCLEX-RN exam, and has fulfilled all other state licensing requirements. While an associate's degree is the minimum education required to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, a bachelor's degree or higher is becoming more commonly preferred among employers.
General Nurse Duties

What do nurses do? They are continuously monitoring and evaluating patients, nurses must be smart, adaptive, educated, and skilled in critical thinking. Nurses’ responsibilities include coordinating with multiple specialists to ensure that their patients are adequately on the road to recovery. Through the different types of care, a nurse’s capabilities extend past their stereotypical personas; while many envision nurses donned in medical scrubs and running through a hospital, a nurse may come in many forms.

Specifically, here are some of the things nurses do on a typical day:

  • Conduct physical exams
  • Take detailed health care histories
  • Listen to patients and analyze their physical and emotional needs
  • Provide counseling and health care education to patients
  • Coordinate care with other healthcare providers and specialists
  • Stay current with advances in healthcare options, medications, and treatment plans
  • Draw blood, and perform other health-related testing
  • Check a patient’s vital signs
Where Do Nurses Work?

Not all registered nurses work in hospitals. You can find a nurse in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, pharmacies, schools, and many other locations. Nurses have the ability to use their skills to meet the needs of their patients, pretty much wherever they are located.  For example, many nurses now assist the elderly or disabled in their homes. Some common places where nurses work include:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Offices
  • Schools
  • Pharmacies
  • Ambulance/Helicopter
  • Home healthcare settings
  • Senior living communities
Types of Nurses (with Requirements)

Answering the question of what nurses do can be challenging due to the fact that nurses are skilled in many fields and may choose to focus their trade specifically on certain types of care. Some specific nursing fields include geriatrics, critical care, pediatrics, treatment planning, and case management. From working face-to-face with patients to managing their paperwork, nurses play a huge role in our lives and the profession continues to be a prosperous career path for those considering taking on this role. Some different types of nurses and their education requirements include:

  • Nurse Anesthetist. A nurse anesthetist assist mainly with medical procesdures, specifically with anesthetic. To become a nurse anesthetist, you must hold bachelor's degree.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner. A family nurse practitioner delivers family-focused care as a part of a healthcare team. Family nurse practitioners must hold a master's degree.
  • NICU Nurse. A NICU nurse works with sick newborn babies. To become a NICU nurse, you must hold a bachelor's degree.
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse. A labor and delivery nurse assists with the birth of newborns. Labor and delivery nurses must hold an associates degree.
  • Travel Nurse. A travel nurse works short-term contracts in multiple locations in order to explore the world while working as a nurse. To become a travel nurse, you must hold an associates degree.
  • Neonatal Nurse. A neonatal nurse works with sick babies. Neonatal nurses must hold a bachelor's degree.
  • Pediatric Nurse. A pediatric nurse works with children in maintaining their normal care. To become a pediatric nurse, you must hold an associates degree.
  • Ambulatory Nurse. An ambulator nurse works specifically on an ambulance for numerous emergencies. Ambulatory nurses must hold an associates degree.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist. A clinical nurse specialist works with patients in a variety of specialties in an advanced setting. To become a clinical nurse specialist, you must hold a master's degree.
  • School Nurse. A school nurse provides medical support, education and treatment within an adolescent school facility. School nurses must hold an bachelor's degree.
  • Nurse Educator. A nurse educator instructs and teacher aspriring nurse and health professions in their journey towards their career. To become a nurse educator, you must hold a master's degree.
What Are Nursing Salaries?

According to labor and statistics, the median salary for a Registered Nurse (RN) is $77,600 and can range as high as more than $120,000 per year. Different classifications of nurses will earn different salaries:

Median Annual Full-Time Nursing Salaries in the U.S.

Nurse Anesthetist: $202,470

Nurse Practitioner: $118,040

Registered Nurses: $77,600

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics