Registered nurses generally work morning, noon or night shifts/rotations, and are always present at most health care facilities.
Because hospitals and some health care facilities are always open they always need registered nurses on staff in order to take care of patients who are suffering from an illness or injury, and to assist individuals who are in need of assisted living, such elderly individuals.
The schedule of a registered nurse is generally dependent on who they work for, whether or not there is a high demand for RN’s in the area and any wage/benefit discussions that have been negotiated prior to/during their employment.
In terms of a daily schedule registered nurses can often be found working 5-8 hour days, 4-10 hour days or 3-12 hour days per week.
RN’s that work 8 or 10 hour days typically work about 40 hours or so per week, however nurses that work 12 hour days may end up working around 36 hours per week.
In either case both the 36 hour and 40 hour work weeks are generally considered full-time work for registered nurses.
These hours do not include any voluntary/required overtime, which may be common in some health care facilities.
In some circumstances (such as a nursing shortage or a highly demanding profession) registered nurses may choose work overtime to or be required to because of the demands of their job, the healthcare facilities staff size and the employers/patients needs, which can greatly affect the amount of hours an RN can expect to work during a given week/month.
On the other end some health care centers such as doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centers and some school districts may only require nurses during operating hours, which generally occurs during the morning and early evening since most places are not staffed and/or assisting patients/students during the late evening and night, however these are a few of the exceptions compared to the many healthcare facilities that operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Without registered nurses on staff patients wouldn’t be able to receive the medical care they need to make a full recovery and some patients may even die due to a lack of medical care and attention.
Monitoring the patients condition and medical machinery to ensure the patient is receiving proper care, providing assistance to doctors and other health care specialists when a patient is suffering from a trauma and always having staffing present to take care of unpredictable situations are some of the responsibilities that always require a nurse to be present.
Other responsibilities registered nurse are required to perform include recording their patients symptoms and keeping records of their recovery status, making assessments of a patients medical condition i.e. injuries and sickness, administering medications and/or specialized treatments, assist patients who are in rehabilitation programs and working alongside a team of medical professionals by providing them with insights and valuable medical information to ultimately ensure the patient receives adequate medical care.
Part time registered nurses
In regards to part-time employees the employer decides what is full-time and what is part-time work, however the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) says that employees who work more than 40 hours must be paid overtime.
Most professions (including nursing) generally consider 30 – 40 of work per week full-time status.
Registered nurses who are considered part-time may end up working 30 hours or less per week and may receive lower hourly wages and fewer benefits as a result of their part-time status.
In some cases part-time registered nurses may be hired to work as little as 10 – 20 hours of work per week or on a fluctuating schedule.
In regards to hourly wages registered nurses can earn $30 (entry level) to $45 (experienced) for each hour of work they do.
Those who have a high level of training and education may make considerably more.
Hourly wages for registered nurses are usually determined by a number of factors such as the registered nurses education, work experience, field of nursing and negotiated wages between employer and employee.
While the average salary of a registered nurse is determined by factors such as the state the registered nurse works in, the demand for nurses in the area, the number of hours the registered nurse works per week and any overtime the registered nurse accrues.
The average salary for registered nurses in the United States is around $66,400, however under the right circumstances registered nurses have been known to make over $100,000 per year.
Demand and opportunities
nurses are in high demand and this high demand career path provides new nurses, existing nurses and nursing students with plenty of opportunities to find a job and move their careers forward.
For students interested in starting a carrier in the nursing field the health care sector offers a wide array of choices and fields of specialty from emergency room nursing to forensics and geriatric care to travel nursing the possibilities are endless.
For existing nurses the high demand for registered nurses means that there are a lot of possibilities and opportunities for career advancement, great pay, the ability to choose where they want to work and a high level of job security.
While most jobs within the spectrum of nursing are abundant those who are just getting started in the nursing profession may find themselves having a hard time getting into the specific nursing field they want.
Depending on the field of nursing a registered nurse chooses to work in or specialize in the competition for certain spots may remain fairly high regardless of how many nursing jobs are available, which can make it difficult for less experienced nurses to compete with those who have a higher education background and/or more working experience.
New nurses that are willing to work entry-level positions in the beginning and take jobs at locations in need of staffing rather than waiting for a position to open up in a desirable location because its close to home or convenient will have the greatest opportunities for quickly entering the field and filling a nursing position.
As they gain the necessary skills and experience required to fill a more vital role in the nursing field these nurses will be able to apply for better positions at their local hospitals and health care organizations and will be able to get into their desirable nursing field at a much faster pace.
The current job outlook for students who have an interest in becoming a registered nurse is very high.
As many of the older RN’s retire (the average age of nurses in the U.S. is around 40 to 45 years of age 11/13/2012) and the local economy continually expands the need for educated and qualified registered nurses will continue to rise.
By 2020 it is expected that there may be as many as 800,000 nursing positions that will need to be filled in order to address the nursing shortage.