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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 $68,450 in May of 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons.Demand for healthcare services will increase because of the aging population, given that older people typically have more medical problems than younger people. Nurses also will be needed to educate and care for patients with various chronic conditions, such as arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and obesity.In addition, access to healthcare services will increase as a result of federal health insurance reform, and more nurses will be needed to care for these patients.

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