RN Jobs: Hard Yet Rewarding Career Field
“Making a difference.”
“Paying it forward.”
“I don’t want to be stuck at a desk.”
There are as many reasons to choose a nursing career as there are nurses. A career in healthcare takes dedication and the right mindset. RNs do an amazing number of jobs in all different types of environments.
A nurse needs to have a certain set of skills to handle the demands of the job. Those include problem-solving, communication, teamwork, stress-management, professionalism, and accountability. But among the most important is compassion.
The work can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally and physically draining. It can also be rewarding, fulfilling, and create a sense of true purpose.
If you’re wondering ‘should I become a registered nurse?’ read on to find out about the different kinds of nursing jobs, environments, and the pay RNs make and decide for yourself.
Why Do People Choose a Career in Nursing?
Nursing is an attractive option for people who want to make a difference in the world. Caring for patients and helping them heal is an emotionally rewarding career. It’s also a job where there’s something different and new every day. Because of the stressful and demanding work, the pay is good, and the industry is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.
For many nurses, the motivation is something personal.
Stephanie Nowakowski, LPN, said she became a nurse because of her desire to help people in any way she could. “Nursing gives me the opportunity to extend my care to the people who need it the most every single day,” she said.
Misti Cook, LPN, didn’t consider a nursing career until she worked as a nursing assistant while exploring college options. She worked as an aide at a nursing home while pursuing her license. That nursing home was her first nursing job.
Cook said she loves picking up special things for her residents and bringing a smile to their faces. Now Cook works as a PRN nurse and says she loves the freedom that provides.
What Kind of Jobs Do Registered Nurses Do?
The typical day of a nurse is anything but typical. For instance, in a hospital setting, a nurse could start the day with a report from the departing shift with updates on admissions, discharges, and patient conditions. Visiting with and assessing patients is also a big part of the day. Wound care, changing bandages, and making documentation for patient records are also big parts of the day.
But at any moment during a normal day, an emergency, new admission, or other event can interrupt the routine and send the day in a new direction.
Some other common jobs RNs do can include:
- Assessing and observing patients
- Working with patients on how to manage their injury or condition
- Administering treatments and medications
- And much more
Nurses in hospitals also often work closely with other healthcare members to plan, implement, and evaluate patient care. Within a hospital, nurses can work in different specialties, like intensive care units (ICUs), for instance.
Of course, nurses don’t just work in hospitals, and their duties can change depending on where they’re working.
Where and When Can RNs Work?
Hospitals are the first place that comes to mind when people think about a nurse’s work environment. And most nurses do work in hospital settings, with the BLS reporting 61 percent of RNs working in state, local, and private hospitals.
But if you don’t want to work in a hospital, there are other places for nurses to work.
The next-largest segment of nurses, 18 percent, work in ambulatory healthcare services. Ambulatory care is work outside of a hospital setting. That includes physician’s offices, outpatient care, and home healthcare. Public health nurses can travel to different communities, schools, and other sites, according to the BLS.
Nursing and residential care facilities are also large employers of nurses. Schools, government agencies, and private facilities are other settings.
Nurses often work long hours, especially in hospitals and residential care facilities. PRN shifts and other contract work are also common.
Meanwhile, nurses for schools or private physicians’ offices are more likely to work regular office hours. That makes these positions good choices for people wanting a more predictable schedule.
Making Cents of it All: What Is an RN’s Annual Salary?
There are plenty of emotional rewards to be found in a nursing career. But no matter how fulfilling a job is, a person’s got to eat.
When considering a career in nursing, the biggest question should be: What’s an RN’s Annual Salary?
The good news is that a nursing career ranks on high-paying jobs people can get with a bachelor’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a registered nurse is $75,330 per year, or a bit more than $36 per hour. That pay can vary depending on experience and cost of living in a location. In Hawaii, for instance, the mean RN salary is more than $104,000 per year. In Alabama, it’s a little above $60,000 per year. A nurse’s specialty also plays a large part. A nurse anesthetist’s average annual wage is $189,190, according to the BLS.
On top of that, per diem and traveling nurses can see added incentives and bonuses adding up to thousands of dollars.
If you’re wondering what per diem is, it means a temporary nursing assignment. This is usually requested by the shift or a series of shifts that workers can accept or decline. It’s common to hear per diem work referred to as PRN work in healthcare settings. PRN means “pro re nata” (Latin for “as needed.”).
PRN and per diem nursing jobs are a good way to make extra money.
Finding PRN Nursing Jobs With the Nursa App
Finding PRN RN jobs is easy with the NursaTM staffing app. To find a job near you download the NursaTM app for the iPhone or for Android phones. You can search for per diem and contract jobs by region or other filters.
However you add it up, a career in nursing can be extremely financially rewarding.