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Nurse

Nurses are members of the healthcare team who specialize in face-to-face interactions with patients to provide general care and support in the treatment and management of medical conditions.

 

Summary

When you arrive at the doctor's office, urgent care, or emergency room, you can often expect to first interact with a nurse to get you settled into the facility. However, nurses have a much larger scope of care than prior to the doctor seeing you. Nurses are flexible members of the patient care team who are ready to hop in anywhere they are needed. This often looks like administering medications or therapeutics such as vaccines, collecting biological specimens to send for lab testing, providing day-to-day care for inpatients in hospital settings, educating patients, or even being members of the surgical team in the operating room. Nurses are trained in a wide variety of settings and can choose to further specialize in which units or facilities they work in.

Nurses have the ability to move to more patient assessing and treating roles through becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). To become a Nurse Practitioner, one must first pursue a foundation in nursing, such as a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), and then can choose to continue their education in NP school. To reap the greatest benefit it is often recommended that one practices as a registered nurse for some time prior to becoming an NP, gaining greater understanding of both roles. 

A unique component to being a nurse is the freedom and collaboration one can experience in their role. Travel nurses are a subset of nurses who exclusively travel to hospitals and clinics as assigned through an agency to fill in for temporary periods, usually weeks or one to two months at a time. Travel nurses experience the perk of being able to choose when they would like to be active for being called up to fill in. Collaboration is everywhere in the nursing role, as nurses work with medical assistants, physicians, physician assistants, families, and any other person necessary on a day to day basis in the hospital.

If you find joy in educating people, nurses utilize this skill on a regular basis. Through educating both patients and their families on conditions, medications, treatments, and other aspects of healthcare, nurses have a role as patient educators. Additionally, nurses become educators of other nurses as they become more senior in their position. Teaching hospitals and clinics will often see medical students, student nurses, physician assistants, and other healthcare related students rotating and learning basics of patient interaction. If a classroom-like experienced is preferred, experienced nurses are also capable of becoming educators at university programs in nursing.

Educational Requirements

The approach to becoming a nurse can be unique, with multiple paths leading to the same end result of being a nurse. The base requirement is that all nurses must first complete high school or a GED equivalent. Next, enroll in and successfully complete a nursing program. Nursing programs come in many forms. The two main options are an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a two year program through a community college, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a four year program at a college or university. Options also exist to enter nursing with a previously earned Bachelor's degree in a different field, especially for those interested in switching careers.

Once a nursing program has been completed licensure will be pursed through completing the NCLEX-RN examination. The NCLEX is the national standard for individuals to assess their knowledge and earn the official title as a Registered Nurse (RN). Upon successful passing of the NCLEX, one earns the title of RN. To become fully licensed in a particular state, however, further steps may need to be taken. 

Following these steps individuals may choose to pursue further educational steps in the future, such as speciality certifications in the future or continuing education on new methods in the field.

Median Salary 2023

According to salary.com, the average salary of a Nurse in 2023 was $86,070.

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Information retrieved from BLS - Nurse, O*NET - Registered Nurses.

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