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Registered Nurse

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Registered Nurses are professional nurses who often supervise the tasks performed by Licensed Practical Nurses, orderlies, medical assistants and nursing assistants. They provide direct care and make decisions regarding plans of care for individuals and groups of healthy, ill and injured people.

Some nurses may have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which makes specialising in fields such as psychiatry (psychiatric nurse) or anaesthesiology more feasible, but in many states the Associate of Science in Nursing is the entry-level degree for those entering the profession. Regardless of degree, they have many hours of clinical experience.

Much research has shown that RNs are the first-line defense of hospitalized patients against disability or death from infection, cardiopulmonary arrest, and other serious complications. Higher ratios of Registered Nurses to patients has been shown to decrease certain complications of illness including death in patients.

Registered Nurses are educators, managers, executives, therapists, intensive care experts, symptom managers, professional mentors, researchers and community members. In hospitals, registered nurses perform diverse roles such as writing policies, responding to emergencies, managing professional, technical and ancillary staff, determining budgets, performing strategic planning, and supervising construction projects.

Many nurses pursue voluntary specialty certification through professional organizations and certifying bodies. A Registered Nurse certified in critical care is a CCRN; in school nursing, a NCSN; in oncology the credential is OCN, and WOCN signifies certification in wound, continence and ostomy care, for example. Similar acronyms are used for certification in many other nursing specialties.

Registered Nurses work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They are advocates and health educators for patients, families, and communities. When providing direct patient care they observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress in patients; assists physicians during surguries, treatments, and examination; administer medications; and assist in convalescence and rehabilitation.

RNs are the largest group of healthcare workers in the United States, numbering over 2.6 million. The number of new graduates and foreign-trained nurses is insufficient to meet the need for Registered Nurses and the shortage is expected to increase for the foreseeable future.


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