Job Profile: Registered Nurse
January 29, 2012
More and more sophisticated procedures, once performed only in hospitals, are being performed in physicians’ offices and in outpatient care centers, such as freestanding ambulatory surgical and emergency centers. Accordingly, employment is expected to grow much faster than average in these places as healthcare in general expands. However, RNs may face greater competition for these positions because they generally offer regular working hours and more comfortable working environments.
Employment in nursing care facilities is expected to grow faster than average because of increases in the number of elderly, many of whom require long-term care. In addition, the financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible should produce more admissions to nursing care facilities. Job growth also is expected in units that provide specialized long-term rehabilitation for stroke and head injury patients, as well as units that treat Alzheimer’s victims.
Employment in home healthcare is expected to increase rapidly in response to the growing number of older persons with functional disabilities, consumer preference for care in the home and technological advances that make it possible to bring increasingly complex treatments into the home. The type of care demanded will require nurses who are able to perform complex procedures.
Generally, RNs with at least a bachelor’s degree will have better job prospects than those without a bachelor’s. In addition, all four advanced practice specialties – clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, midwives and anesthetists – will be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas. Relative to physicians, these RNs increasingly serve as lower-cost primary care providers.
2011 RN Salary Projections
Median annual earnings of registered nurses were $52,330 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $43,370 and $63,360. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,760. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of registered nurses in May 2004 were as follows:
• Employment services: $63,170
• General medical and surgical hospitals: $53,450
• Home health care services: $48,990
• Offices of physicians: $48,250
• Nursing care facilities: $48,220
Many employers offer flexible work schedules, child care, educational benefits and bonuses.
Workers in other healthcare occupations with responsibilities and duties related to those of registered nurses are occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and social workers.