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Registered Nurse (RN) Video: Educational Requirements and Career Options

Registered Nurse (RN) Video: Educational Requirements and Career Options Transcript

Are you interested in helping people and being part of one of the fastest growing industries in the country? A career in registered nursing could be for you! As an R.N. you will assist physicians and provide outstanding patient care to those in need. Bachelor's and associate's degree programs provide training for careers in registered nursing.


Registered nurses play an active and vital role in the health care system. They assist physicians during procedures, administer medication and perform other duties essential to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. They also act on behalf of their patients, answering questions and helping them to understand their treatment. A current shortage of nursing professionals has led to the development of a variety of educational options. These programs exist to prepare students for the national nursing licensing examination.

Job Duties and Skills

Typical duties of registered nurses involve inserting intravenous lines, assisting with procedures, observing patients and providing support to patients and their families. They also administer medications and perform diagnostic tests and examinations.

Nurses work to protect both patients and physicians. Patients rely on nurses for guidance and compassion during their hospital stay. Nurses provide physicians with updated information on a patient's status, new symptoms, responses to medications and other vital information.

Hospitals are fast-paced work environments that require registered nurses to work effectively under pressure. Often, nurses care for several patients at the same time. A nurse must be able to work quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality of patient care.

Training Required

All registered nurses are required to complete a national licensing examination known as the NCLEX-RN. In years past, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing was the only way to complete the licensing process. Today, a shortage of nursing professionals has given rise to alternative educational programs.

Many students choose to earn an Associate's Degree in Nursing, otherwise known as an ADN. The ADN combines classroom study with internships that prepare students for the national licensing exam in much the same way as a bachelor's degree program. A second alternative to earning a bachelor's degree is known as a diploma program, often run by hospitals or clinics. These programs focus on hands-on learning of specific professional skills as opposed to the broader, theory-based educations of bachelor's and associate's degree programs. Other programs also exist that help those with bachelor's or master's degrees in scientific disciplines transition into nursing careers.

Master's and doctoral degree programs in Nursing can help established nursing professionals to develop specialized professional skills. These programs may prepare registered nurses for pediatric nursing, surgical nursing or administrative positions.

Career Options

Many nurses will develop specialized skills, either through additional education or on-the-job training. Common specializations for registered nurses include pediatrics, oncology and geriatrics. Pediatric nurses focus on treating children, oncology nurses work with patients battling cancers and geriatric nurses specialize in the treatment of senior citizens. Each specialization requires knowledge of specific procedures, treatments, medications and patient-care techniques. Nurses with in-demand specialties can find themselves valuable additions to the staffs of hospitals, private clinics, nursing homes and other health care providers.

Registered nurses who complete graduate level degree programs may choose to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse midwife (CNM) or a nurse practitioner (NP). Nurse practitioners have more responsibilities than any other nursing professionals. They may perform more advanced procedures, write prescriptions and treat patients outside of a doctor's supervision.


The growing demand for registered nurses has resulted in the creation of new alternative certification and education programs. As a nurse, you can play an important role in the healthcare system. It is often said that doctors treat an illness that happens to be in a patient, but nurses treat patients that just happen to have an illness.


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