What does an RN do? As a registered nurse, you’re part of a medical team made up of doctors, other nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Your duties will vary, depending on what type of medical facility you’re employed with.

Typical RN duties include:

  • Assessing your patient’s condition.
  • Recording your patient’s symptoms and his or her medical history.
  • Making notes based on your patient observations.
  • Giving your patients their treatments and/or medicine.
  • Setting up or contributing to a patient care plan.
  • Working with the medical team.
  • Explaining your patient’s condition to his or her family, how to manage it, along with how to best treat it at home.

The type of patients you work with will depend on the type of RN you are. As an RN, you can specialize in areas like oncology, pediatrics, geriatrics, neonatology, and any others of practice.

How to Become an RN

There are three different ways you can become a registered nurse. You can go through a nursing program, get an associate’s degree, or get a bachelor’s degree. Whichever route you complete, you must get a license.

  • Choose your education path, whether it’s a certificate program, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree.
  • You must graduate from an approved program in order to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam.
  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN and receive your license.
  • Get licensed through your state.
  • Find a job.
  • Think about pursuing more education to climb the nursing ranks.

Salary and Job Outlook for RNs

In 2017, RNs earned a median annual salary of $70K. When you first start your career, you’ll earn over $48K, but you can look forward to larger paychecks, over $108K annually, the further into your career you go.

A 15 percent employment growth is predicted through 2026. This means over 438K positions will be opening across the country. Expect competition for open positions; there is a large influx of registered nurses entering the job market. If you have a bachelor’s degree, it will increase the likelihood of being hired.

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