Registered nurses (R. N.'s) work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They are advocates and health educators for patients, families, and communities. When providing direct patient care, they observe, assess, record symptoms, reactions, and progress; assists physicians during treatments and examinations; administer medications; and assist in convalescence and rehabilitation. They also develop and manage care plans; instruct patients and their families in proper care; and help individuals and groups take steps to improve or maintain their health.
Registered nurses work in a variety of settings. Most are employed in acute care hospitals or medical centers, however, many opportunities exist outside this traditional work site. Private physician practices, clinics, surgery centers, health maintenance organizations, home health care agencies and nursing homes are just a few of the many diverse locations. Nurses spend considerable time walking and standing. Due to settings providing 24-hour care, nurses in these institutions commonly work nights, weekends, holidays and/or on-call hours.
Nursing education includes instruction in the campus and/or the online classroom and supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other health care facilities. Students generally take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nutrition, psychology and nursing. Course work also includes liberal arts classes. In 2008, 45.4% of all Registered Nursing graduates were from Associate degree programs offered by community colleges. Diploma and baccalaureate programs make up the remainder of R. N. preparation.
Additional information is available from American Nurses Association