What is an RN?

Sherry Holetzky

RN is an abbreviation for registered nurse. An RN is a nurse that has completed a course of study and passed the proper examinations to become licensed and registered. Although there are more RNs than any other type of nurse in the U.S., there is still a great need for more registered nurses. This is often referred to as a nursing shortage.

An RN has special training to treat wounds and start IVs.
An RN has special training to treat wounds and start IVs.

The reason there is such a need for registered nurses is that they provide the greatest level of care for many patients. An RN not only provides specific types of care, but also gives advice and helps coordinate other health services for patients. A registered nurse may be in charge of other nursing personnel such as interns, techs and volunteers. He or she may also be responsible for a patient's overall case management, conferring with everyone from the patient to the primary care physician, as well as any therapists or specialists.

An oncology RN works closely with cancer patients, administering medications through an IV.
An oncology RN works closely with cancer patients, administering medications through an IV.

To become a registered nurse, a nursing student must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for RNs. Nursing students may become eligible to take the exam after receiving an Associate's Degree in some areas, although many go on to achieve a Baccalaureate Degree. An RN may also become an intern while earning his or her degree. Internship programs are available in many areas, offering the prospective RN pay and benefits comparable to those received by entry level nursing personnel.

RNs might work in nursing homes and help residents with mobility programs.
RNs might work in nursing homes and help residents with mobility programs.

For the RN, duties may include everything from taking a patient's temperature to dressing a wound or administering an IV. An RN may also perform triage in an emergency room setting in many cases, deciding which patients are in greatest need of immediate care. While RNs work in clinics, private practices, private homes and nursing homes, they are an imperative part of any hospital staff, helping care for patients in every aspect, from Emergency Care to Intensive Care.

RNs work in a nursing home and take care of elderly residents.
RNs work in a nursing home and take care of elderly residents.

Duties and job descriptions may vary for an RN depending on the setting in which he or she chooses to work. While overall requirements are dictated by national standards, state laws vary, as do prerequisites for certain nursing positions, including those that provide emergency or surgical care.

RNs often help patients with wound care.
RNs often help patients with wound care.
RNs are often tasked with determining which patients need the most immediate care in an emergency room.
RNs are often tasked with determining which patients need the most immediate care in an emergency room.
Some RNs perform triage as part of a first response team.
Some RNs perform triage as part of a first response team.

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Discussion Comments

anon334163

How much does an RN get paid? How much does a regular nurse get in a month or a week or a year, etc.?

anon132930

What is bridge program? Who can take this program?

How long does the program take? I have BS in computer education from overseas. (i am a computer teacher) do i qualify for a program?

anon112233

Being an RN is a difficult but rewarding job. I think anyone who decides they want to be a nurse should do it for the right reasons. The patient should always be kept at the forefront, the focus of your attention, and the pay comes later. Patients and we nurses who truly care about the patients know who's in it for money and who really cares.

anon108460

how many years of college or uni does an aspiring RN need? and what courses in high school should one take that will help in this field?

anon90282

I think that the RN is really good for some students like me. i really want to do this RN thing. i love helping people out a lot.

anon87218

do you need an associate degree to be an RN? or a bachelor degree?

anon74492

I think that if you want to go into a nursing job, it is good, but you have to do it because is something you want to not because is what pays more, or you are not going to like your job.

anon69826

I want to go in for nursing but i don't really know what type of nurse to go in for. Should i go in for an RN or what? or which is paid more?

anon66200

This is a really good source of information.

anon62721

This article helped me with my project on careers as a sophomore. I want to be a RN and this has really helped me with information.

anon61062

The best paid nurse is an RN. An LPN usually ends up working under an RN (if there is an RN available) and is paid less. An LPN isn't able to do as much as an RN due to training.

I have only ever seen one exception to this, and it was in a doctor's office where the LPN (who was still underpaid) was doing the work of an RN.

anon49013

What are the qualifications for a medical assistant and the salary?

anon42394

Well i have a question. I want to become a nurse but i don't know what type of nurse. Which kind is the best paid? Is it an RN?

Thanks.

anon4242

This article helped me a lot for my senior project. Thanks to it, I got all the information I needed.

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