Nursing Career Explorer

Job Description

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

A person in this career:

  • Records patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administers patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Sets up plans for patients’ care or contributes to existing plans
  • Observes patients and records the observations
  • Works as part of a team with physicians and other health care specialists
  • Directs and supervises licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants
  • Consults and collaborates with doctors and other health care professionals
  • Operates and monitors medical equipment
  • Helps perform diagnostic tests and analyzes the results
  • Teaches patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explains what to do at home after treatment

Working conditions and physical demands

  • A lot of time walking, bending, stretching and standing
  • Must lift and move patients often
  • Risk of exposure to infectious diseases and potentially harmful and hazardous drugs and other substances.

Important qualities to possess

  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Emotional stability
  • Organizational skills
  • Physical stamina

Information from: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Registered Nurses, at

Career at a Glance

Salary Range
$56,576 - $79,144

Skills Needed
Strong math and science skills
Enjoys helping and working with people
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
Strong work ethic
Strong communication skills
Team-building and leadership skills

Job Duties
Performing physical assessments
Planning and providing client care, including medications and treatments
Teaching clients about their care
Working with members of the health care team

Work Locations
Physician's offices
Home health care
Long-term care
Correctional facilities
Military service