Registered nurses must teach patients and their members of the family on how to handle their injury or illness by explaining needs for post-treatment home care such as nutrition, diet and exercise programs, and self-administration of physical therapy and medicine. They play an important role in promoting general health of the public by educating them about warning signs and symptoms of disease.
RNs must also establish a plan of care, which may include administering medication such as checking proper dosages and avoiding drug interactions; initiating, maintaining and discontinuing intravenous injections for medication, blood, fluid, and blood products; observing the physical condition of patients and recording the observations; and consulting with doctors and other clinicians.
They have also an ethical responsibility to sensibly consider their level of fatigue when making a decision on whether to accept any assignment that extend beyond their regularly scheduled work hour, day or week, including a voluntary or mandatory overtime work. They must follow guidelines to clear the process of release from work with an aim to address a disaster. They should have the right to reject any assignment that places themselves or patients in immediate danger.
They have also an important role in discovering and correcting medical errors. Other qualifications of RNs include the attitude of being caring, sympathetic, and detail oriented. They must also posses the ability to direct or supervise other members of the health care team, correctly assess the conditions of patients, and recognize when consultation to specialized health care personnel is needed.
Employment and Salary of Registered Nurses Registered nurses comprise the largest occupation in the health care sector, with about 2.5 million jobs, 55% of which are in hospitals. About eight percent of RNs were in clinics of physicians, five percent in nursing care centers, five percent in home health care sector, four percent in employment sector, and three percent in outpatient care facilities. The remaining percentage of workforce worked in social assistance agencies, government agencies, and educational services. RNs are predicted to bring in about 587,000 new jobs over the period 2006-2016.
Some RNs begin their career in nursing as LPNs or nursing aides and then return to school to earn their RN degree. Most of them also start their career as a staff nurses in hospitals and then able to move to other work settings or are promoted to more responsible position because of their experience and good performance. In management position, nurses can move on to their career from assistant unit manager or head nurse to more senior-level roles of vice president, assistant director, director, or chief nurse.
Administrative roles require skills in leadership, communication, negotiation, and good judgment. Employment of RNs are projected to grow 23 percent from 2006 to 2016, particularly driven by advances in medical technology and patient care, allowing a huge number of diseases to be treated, and by growing focus on preventive care. Moreover, the number of older people, who are more likely needed nursing care than younger people, is predicted to increase rapidly.
It is expected to grow more slowly in hospitals because of the possibility that the number of inpatients will not grow by much due to increasing number of procedures that are being done on outpatient basis. Rapid growth in employment is predicted in hospital outpatient centers. Employment of RNs in home health care facilities is projected to grow rapidly due to the increasing number of older people with functional disabilities, patient preference for care in the home, and technological innovations that allow to bring complex treatments into the home.