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Registered Nurse

What Does an RN Do?

The day-to-day duties in this profession can vary considerably, depending on where a registered nurse happens to work. Specific tasks include:

  • Determining patients' health and nursing needs
  • Carrying out hands-on medical and nursing treatments prescribed by physicians
  • Teaching and counseling patients and their families
  • Observing and reporting the condition of patients and modifying their care plans if necessary
  • Directing and supervising less skilled health care staff

How Do I Become an RN?

Prospective RNs may enroll in one of three types of training programs: A 2-year associate's degree (ADN) program offered by a community college; a 3-year hospital-based diploma; or a 4-year bachelor's degree (BSN) program at a college or university. In Virginia, over half of all recently trained nurses have received ADNs. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers two types of credentialing exams--computer-based testing and paper-and-pencil exams--twice a year, in May and October, in 50 cities across the country.

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