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Job Duties

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides. Registered nurses' duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with.

Education and Certification Requirements

A bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN) typically takes 4 years to complete. Bachelor's degree programs usually include courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts and usually offer clinical experience in both hospital and nonhospital settings. There are also master’s degree (MSN) programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession but hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license.


The median annual wage for registered nurses was $71,730 in May of 2018.

Job Outlook

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as they live longer and more active lives.

UI students preparing for health-related careers should consult Health Professions Advising <; at the Career Center for help in identifying appropriate prerequisite courses, preparing for professional school exams, and learning how to construct an effective professional school application.

For more information

American Nurses Association

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