Registered Nurse Job Description (Salary, Duties, Skills, Certification & More)


By Mike Simpson

When it comes to professionals in demand, RNs certainly fall into this category. There were over 3 million RN positions in the United States in 2018. By 2028, that number will increase to 371,500.

That’s over 12% increase.

But, even with so many people walking around today (and so many more will be needed in the years to come), many people don’t know exactly what a registered nurse (RN) does.

Of course, you’ve probably seen nurses on shows like Scrubs, where nurses run with clipboards while taking care of some patient care and giving doctors a common thread of daring. But that doesn’t really tell you what it’s like to be a registered nurse, does it? Not at all.

So, let’s take a look behind the curtain and get to the gist of all things RN.

What is a registered nurse?

Registered nurses are health care professionals who help physicians provide patient care. An RN performs exams, treats injuries, administers treatments, manages vaccinations, and much more. They can work in clinics, hospitals, serviced residences, school nurses’ offices, and houses.

When a person becomes a registered nurse, they can choose a specialty. Critical care, oncology, pediatrics, neonatology, geriatrics, and dependency are just a few of the options available. They advance their knowledge and abilities in fields related to this specialty, making them particularly proficient in this area.

In many ways, a nurse is an intermediary point between patients and physicians. With their wealth of knowledge, they can answer patient questions and offer advice. In addition, they serve as links, functioning as a bridge between patients and other healthcare professionals. They facilitate communication, make sure patients and their families feel cared for, and that physicians are well informed of any concerns or changes in a patient’s condition.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a registered nurse?

The responsibilities of registered nurses vary from institution to institution. Each clinic, hospital, assisted living facility, palliative care center and similar environment is unique. They may have different needs when it comes to how RNs fit into the workplace, resulting in some variation when it comes to AI workload.

However, many jobs have things in common. If you look at an average RN job description, here are a few tasks you’re likely to find:

    • Perform examinations
    • Monitor the patient’s symptoms
    • Assess patient needs
    • Counsel patients and family members
    • Manage procedures
    • Manage special tests and evaluate the results
    • Drugs and vaccines administered
    • Start IVs
    • Create and update patient records
    • Manage stocks of medical supplies

In some cases, the duties of a registered nurse include supervising other health care professionals, such as NCAs. However, this is not always part of the RN job description.

What Skills Do Registered Nurses Need?

If you are to do all of the above RN duties, you need the right mix of skills. You will need medical / technical prowess as well as general skills. Otherwise, you can’t thrive in the role.

Since technical capacity tends to be the more concrete part of the skills equation, let’s take a look at this first. Here are some of the basic skills that every nurse needs:

    • Medical terminology
    • Creation and updating of medical records
    • Monitoring vital signs and symptoms
    • Control and prevention of infectious diseases
    • Patient assessment and management
    • Administration of medications and tests
    • Phlebotomy, injections, vaccinations and IV
    • Catheterization
    • Wound dressing

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Without stellar soft skills, you’ll be hard pressed. This ensures that you can work well with the rest of the medical team and do what is right for the patients.

Here’s a look at some of the soft skills you should consider essential:

    • Communication
    • Compassion and empathy
    • Management of time
    • Organization
    • Critical thinking and problem solving
    • Adaptability
    • Attention to detail
    • Patience
    • Decision making
    • Team work
    • Ethics

Physical endurance can also be critical. Many registered nurses spend most of the day on their feet. In addition, physical assistance to patients with mobility problems may be required. Without a certain degree of strength and endurance, some of these responsibilities might be almost impossible to handle.

REMARK: Our objective article on Nursing Resume might be helpful!

What education, training, certification is required?

As with almost all medical professions, you need a certain level of education before you can be a registered nurse. After all, would you let someone untrained put an IV in your arm? I did not mean it.

Globally, there are two main routes to becoming a registered nurse. First there is the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) option. The educational program is very career oriented and takes approximately 18-24 months to complete. This makes it the fastest approach and can be less expensive.

While being able to launch your career quickly is probably incredibly appealing, the DNA path has a downside. Some hospitals favor RNs with a bachelor’s degree, and it is actually mandatory for some RNs to have one. For example, New York State has a law – dubbed “BSN in 10” – that makes obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) a requirement in the first ten years after graduation. nurse.

With that in mind, earning a four-year nursing degree can be smart. A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree is usually qualified for more jobs, might earn a higher salary, and won’t have to worry about the impact of laws like BSN in 10.

But, whichever route you choose, it’s important to note one thing; even with a diploma in hand, your journey is not over. If you want to be a registered nurse, you need to get a license. How are you doing that? By passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

The NCLEX tests nursing degree holders to ensure they have the right knowledge to work in healthcare settings. It certifies those who pass as being equipped to do their jobs, so it’s a must-have if you want to work as a nurse.

RN salary

If you start to think, “Yes, being a registered nurse sounds pretty good,” then chances are a new question has popped into your head. And what is this question? “How much does a registered nurse earn? “ That’s what.

Even though becoming a registered nurse sounds like a calling, you probably still want to know that what you earn can keep a roof over your head. This is all the more true as you will have to devote time and energy to your education, and that can cost a pretty dime as well.

You’re in luck, because we have this data readily available. The median annual salary for registered nurses is $ 71,730. Not too ugly, right?


Well, before you run off and splurge on a 24k gold stethoscope, take a breath. When you start out, you might not earn that much. For the lowest paid 10%, their annual salary is less than $ 50,800.

However, over time you will likely have the opportunity to increase your income. The top 10% earn salaries above $ 106,530. With time, dedication and a passion for the field, it could be you someday. And, if that happens, and a 24k diamond encrusted stethoscope is truly your dream, then maybe you are giving it some thought.


What you need to know for your RN interview

Yes, it is true that registered nurses are a popular commodity. But, even if medical institutions are calling for registered nurses, that doesn’t mean you can get into an interview without preparation. Even with a talent shortage, clinics, hospitals and similar facilities are unlikely to make a bad hire; it is so simple.

So how do you present yourself as the outstanding candidate you know you are? By scouring your RN job description, that’s it!

In this overview you will discover a few details, mainly an overview of what the hiring manager wants to find. The must-see list is a good example. This tells you exactly which skills the hiring manager values. It’s right there, in simple black and white. Oh, and this segment on tasks, it tells you what they want from you.

With this information in hand, you are empowered. You know what the hiring manager wants to find, so you can practice asking nurse interview questions and answers that directly address those points. Combine that with critical behavioral interview question skills, like using the STAR Method and the Sewing Method, and you set yourself up for success.

MIKE’S TIP: When it comes time for an interview, generic tips like “Dress for the Job” don’t work. Showing up in blouses is not an option, although it is normal dress code when working. If you can learn anything about standard office attire (which those who do not provide direct patient care follow) at this facility, then either emulate that or go a little higher, if the workplace is casual. . Otherwise, stick with slightly raised business attire. You practically can’t go wrong with nice pants, a button-down shirt, dress shoes, understated accessories and a quality blazer.

Put it all together

Nurses are a vital part of the healthcare industry and will be in demand for the foreseeable future. Whether you are already a registered nurse or planning to become one, take advantage of the information above. You can use it to chart a course and make your professional dreams come true.

Discover our others “Job description items” if you are exploring career options:

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