What do Registered Nurses do?

While there are many specialties in which Registered Nurses (RN) execute different duties, RNs typically do the following:

  • Record patients' medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients' medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients' care or contribute to existing plans
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pre-Nursing Requirements

Prerequisites:  Requirements vary slightly between schools. It is important to check the requirements of each school you are considering to make sure you complete all requirements. In general, students must take:

General Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, BioChem, Human Anatomy, Physiology, Nutrition, Stats, English, Social and Behavioral Science

Application: NursingCAS (Centralized Application Service) 

For more information check out: American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Applicant Information

To learn more about financial assistance please see the AACN's page on Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Entrance Exam: Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Nursing Education 

Possible Degrees and Certificates: Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. At Dartmouth, BSNs are not offered. Students who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a Dartmouth bachelor's degree in another field can apply to these accelerated programs. Below are additional pathways toward Registered Nurse Training:

Registered nurses also must be licensed. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Years of Study: MSN, ADN, and diploma programs usually take 1.5 to 3 years to complete, depending on the program. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Specialties: Registered nurses' duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. Many possibilities for working with specific patient groups exist. For example, with an RN certification, you can become a Labor and Delivery nurse, a rapidly growing nursing profession.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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