Adult Nurse: Career Profile

Sep 17, 2019

Adult nurses provide medical care to patients who are teens and older. They conduct patient examinations, provide health care education, and manage health care plans. Adult nurses must earn a master's degree and a state nursing license.

Essential Information

Adult nurses assist doctors with treating adolescent to elderly patients. These professionals are commonly advanced care nurses who hold master's degrees and state licensure. Master's programs may offer special training in the problems that commonly affect adult patients, such as cardiovascular disease. Adult nurses work in most types of healthcare settings and perform tasks that all registered nurses perform.

Required Education Master's degree in nursing
Licensing State nursing license
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 12% for all registered nurses
Median Salary (2018)* $71,730 for all registered nurses

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Profile of an Adult Nurse

An adult nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who specializes in the adult segment of the population. Adult nurses help perform basic diagnostic tests on patients and analyze the results for doctors. They also work with and carry out doctors' requests. In some cases, they help treat acute and chronic medical conditions. Commonly, adult nurses perform basic nursing duties including:

  • Patient treatment
  • Patient examination and diagnosis
  • Offer health care education
  • Provide advice and support to patients and their families
  • Manage health care plans
  • Record and log patient histories

Adult nurses are needed in a variety of health care settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians' offices
  • Private and public health clinics
  • In-home health care providers

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that between 2018 and 2028, career opportunities in registered nursing were expected to increase by 12%, a rate that is much faster than for the average profession in the U.S. ( The BLS attributes this increase to both a retiring nursing workforce and increased demand for medical services by an aging general population.

Salary Information

As of May 2018, the median annual salary for registered nurses was $71,730, as per BLS data. The highest paid 10% earned $101,630 or more annually at that time.

Educational Requirements

In order to become licensed as a registered nurse, students must obtain either an associate or bachelor of science in nursing degree or complete a diploma program, which is offered by some hospitals. An associate's degree program takes two years, while a bachelor's degree can be completed in four years, and a diploma program usually takes three years to finish. Common courses in these programs may include:

  • Nursing fundamentals
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health assessment
  • Pharmacology
  • Adult nursing practices


All states require nurses to be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state, but commonly include completing an accredited nurse training program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination, also known as the NCLEX-RN.

Graduate Programs

RNs generally need to complete a Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) in order to become an adult nurse. Coursework may include case management studies and adult patient assessments. Some programs offer specialty training in adult nursing, which may provide instruction on chronic pain and cardiovascular care.

Adult nurses are registered nurses who sometimes provide advanced care to adult patients. They work in many types of healthcare settings and can assist with acute medical conditions. A master's degree and state nursing licensure is required.

Next: View Schools
Created with Sketch. Link to this page

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?