Number of Jobs
Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, lived more than a century ago, but her legacy lives on in hospitals, clinics and schools. Nightingale's concern for patients stretched beyond administering medication to caring for the whole person – physical as well as emotional, intellectual and spiritual. And she backed up her nursing philosophies with research. Today, nursing research is just one of the exciting changes in the field, says Kathy McCauley, associate dean of academic programs at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing. Increasingly, evidence-based science is confirming the contributions nurses make to patient care.
So, who are the people making these contributions? A registered nurse is the professional you'll likely have the most contact with during a hospital stay. They’re responsible for monitoring a patient's condition, performing medical procedures and administering medicine. They are also responsible for charting a patient's progress. These professionals work with a range of patients, from those who are healthy (and are proactively trying to stay that way), to those who are pregnant and bringing new life, to those who are nearing the end of life and hoping for a peaceful death. “Nurses have a very holistic view of health and well-being, and I really appreciated that perspective, ” Erin Whitehouse, an RN and Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, writes in an email. “[They] look at an entire person and their situation, not just what medical concern they have.”
Many nurses also specialize and work with patients who have a certain health condition like cancer or diabetes. They can also specialize by body part. For instance, there are dermatology nurses and cardiovascular nurses, among others. RNs can also specialize by people group (like newborn babies) or by environment (like a school or hospital emergency room).
Registered nurses will be in high demand in the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the profession to grow 19.4 percent by 2022, opening up 526, 800 new jobs. This tremendous growth along with a low unemployment rate, just 2 percent, helped registered nurse secure the No. 9 spot on our Best Jobs list.
The BLS reports the median salary for a registered nurse was $66, 220 in 2013. The best-paid 10 percent of RNs made more than $96, 320, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $45, 630. The highest-paid RN positions are clustered in California, including the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, San Jose and Vallejo.
|75th Percentile||$80, 190|
|25th Percentile||$54, 180|
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