Careers in Nursing

What does a nurse do?

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. Registered nurses typically perform the following tasks:

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record observations
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Registered nurses work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services and nursing care facilities. Others work in correctional facilities, schools or serve in the military.

(Source: US Dept of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Is the nursing profession right for me?

Even if you like to help people, not everyone is suited to the rigors of nursing. It’s important that you explore the requirements and qualities that make a successful nurse before deciding to pursue this challenging yet rewarding career path. To understand the tasks, tools, knowledge, skills, abilities and work activities required of a nurse you can learn more here.

Nurses are in demand

The United States Department of Labor estimates that employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Despite these promising figures, there is still a competitive landscape for entry-level nursing jobs.

It’s important that nursing students know the realities of the current job market, so they can be proactive in their efforts to find meaningful work upon graduation.  The National League for Nursing and the National Student Nursing Association have teamed up to provide some great career advice for those entering the nursing profession: Realities of the Current RN Job Market.


According to The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15, the median expected annual salary for registered nurses is $65,470. Keep in mind that actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Nursing as a second career

According to the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses the average age of all licensed registered nurses is currently 47. Potential employers value the maturity, professionalism and advanced decision-making skills that older workers bring to nursing.

While you should keep in mind that nursing is a physically (and at times emotionally) demanding job, if you have an aptitude for math and science, thrive on working in an intense atmosphere and love working with people, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider nursing as a second career. (Source:

Professional associations for nursing

National Student Nurses Association
American Nurses Association (ANA)
National League for Nursing (NLN)
American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN)

Licensure information

Colorado State Board of Nursing
National Council of State Boards of Nursing

Other Nursing Career Sites
Discover Nursing-Explore Specialties
Traveling Nurse Careers