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How Do I Know if I Want to Become a Nurse?

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Nursing is a career filled with endless personal and professional rewards. If you choose nursing, you are choosing to spend your life helping others, using skills that blend scientific knowledge with compassion and caring. There are few professions that offer such a rewarding combination of high tech and high touch.

    Registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.5 million jobs. About 59 percent of jobs are in hospitals. Registered nurses are projected to generate about 587,000 new jobs over the 2006-16 period, one of the largest numbers among all occupations; overall job opportunities are expected to be excellent, but may vary by employment setting.

What is Nursing?

Nursing is a blend of science and technology with the art of caring and compassion. Nursing professionals provide preventative and restorative health care to patients in a variety of settings. Every day on the job nurses use the science they learned in nursing school, and when employed, they take continuing education courses on a regular basis to keep up with the latest in the medical and nursing sciences. Nurses work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illnesses. Nursing is a science that requires in-depth knowledge, skills and understanding. Nursing deals not only with a person's biological needs, but their psychosocial and cultural needs as well. Nurses work closely with doctors and other health care professionals, and serve as the advocates for patients and families.

What Do Nurses Do?

Overall, nurses can assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. They also administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients and may advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management.

Nurses care for patients in the following ways:

·         Nurses help bring babies into the world, and they take care of new moms before and after childbirth.

·         Nurses help sick and injured people get better, and they help healthy people stay healthy.

·         Nurses perform physical examinations.

·         Nurses give medications and treatments ordered by doctors.

·         Nurses are concerned with the emotional, social, and spiritual conditions of their patients.

·         Nurses teach and counsel patients, as well as family members, and explain what they can expect during the recovery process.

·         Nurses provide health care teaching and counseling in the community.

·         Nurses observe, assess, evaluate, and record patients' conditions and progress, and they communicate patient condition information to doctors and other members of the health care team.

·         Nurses help patients and families determine the best mix of health and social services - hospice, home care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and others.

·         Nurses design and complete quality assurance activities to ensure appropriate nursing care.

·         Nurses help terminally ill patients die with dignity, and they help family members deal with dying and death.

Nursing Opportunities in Hospitals

Where do nurses work in hospitals? Practically everywhere! They work in:

·         Patient care units at the bedside

·         Operating rooms, trauma centers, and emergency rooms

·         Medical records or other hospital offices

·         X-ray and other diagnostic units

·         Intensive care units

·         Surgical and recovery units

·         Same-day surgery centers

Will Nursing Be a Fit For Me?


    Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records. Monitor, record and report symptoms and changes in patients' conditions. Record patients' medical information and vital signs. Modify patient treatment plans as indicated by patients' responses and conditions. Consult and coordinate with health care team members to assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care plans. Order, interpret, and evaluate diagnostic tests to identify and assess patient's condition. Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity. Direct and supervise less skilled nursing or health care personnel or supervise a particular unit. Prepare patients for, and assist with, examinations and treatments. Observe nurses and visit patients to ensure proper nursing care.

Tools and Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

·           Acute care fetal or maternal monitoring units or accessories — Bilimeters; Fetal monitors; Fetal scalp electrodes

·           Floor grade forceps or hemostats — Curved hemostats; Hemostats; Straight hemostats

·           Medical oxygen masks or parts — Non-rebreather masks; Partial masks; Ventimasks

·           Peripheral intravenous catheters for general use — Peripheral angiocaths; Peripheral butterflys; Single,double,triple lumen catheters

·           Suction kits — Nasal suctioning equipment; Oral suctioning equipment; Tracheal suctioning equipment

Technology used in this occupation:

·           Calendar and scheduling software — Per-Se Technologies ORSOS One-Call

·           Medical software — Electronic medical record EMR software; Misys Healthcare Systems software; QuadraMed Affinity Healthcare Information System; Siemens SIENET Sky

·           Office suite software — Microsoft Office

·           Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel

·           Time accounting software — Kronos Workforce Timekeeper

Knowledge Required

·           Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

·           Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

·           Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

·           English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

·           Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

·           Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

·           Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

·           Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

·           Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.


Nurses must be able to accept responsibility, direct or supervise others, follow orders precisely, and

determine when consultation is necessary. As nurses are advocates for patients, families and communities, they should be caring and sympathetic.

·           Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

·           Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

·           Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

·           Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.

·           Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.

·           Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

·           Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.

·           Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

·           Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

·           Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


·           Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

·           Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

·           Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

·           Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

·           Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

·           Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

·           Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

·           Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

·           Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

·           Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).


Interest code: SI

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Styles

Nurses should be caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail oriented. They must be able to direct or supervise others, correctly assess patients’ conditions, and determine when consultation is required. They need emotional stability to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

·           Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

·           Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.

·           Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

·           Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

·           Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

·           Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

·           Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

·           Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

·           Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

·           Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Work Values

·           Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

·           Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Specific Work Activities

·           Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

·           Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

·           Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

·           Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

·           Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

·           Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

·           Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

·           Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

·           Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

·           Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Wage and Employment Trends

Median annual earnings of registered nurses were $57,280 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $47,710 and $69,850. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,440. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of registered nurses in May 2006 were:

Category: Forex

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