Job Outlook: Registered Nurse
It is important to research employment outlooks when starting or switching your career. As part of a new series of Job Seeker Tips articles we will be reviewing various occupations so that you get a general understanding of what is involved in different positions. This week we provide an overview for registered nurses (RN's), based on 2010 information for both Canada and the United States.
Briefly, RN's assess, administer and educate about healthcare and common health practices. The work environment for RN's includes hospitals, physicians' offices, patient's homes, nursing homes and various employment services. Duties for RN's can range from the general to specific, and can focus on a specific health condition, part of the body, group of people, workplace or environment (e.g.: paediatric oncology nurse, burn unit nurse). Schedules are usually in shifts based on a 24 hour clock, and may often be on call. In the US in 2010 about 20 per cent of RN's worked part time.
There are three ways to become a registered nurse: a university bachelor's degree, an associate degree or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Nurses also have to be licensed in the area they work in. Advanced practice nurses, and some specialty nurses, require a master's degree.
The mean wages for nurses are $34.13 per hour and $31.10 per hour in Canada and the United States, respectively.
For both the US and Canada there is good job growth for RN's. An aging population, technological advancement and growing emphasis on pre-emptive care suggest that there will be steady growing demand for RN's in all areas, geographical and occupational. Employment for RN's in the US is among the fastest growing occupations, and there is a current labour shortage expected to continue for the next few years.