Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nurses promote health, prevent disease and help patients cope with illness. They have a unique scope of practice and can practice independently, although they also collaborate with all members of the health care team to provide the care needed by each patient as an individual. Nurses are hands-on health professionals who provide focused and highly personalized care. The field has a wide range of career opportunities, ranging from entry-level practitioner to doctoral-level researcher.
Nurses also serve as advocates for patients, families and communities. They develop and manage nursing care plans, instruct patients and their families in proper care and help individuals and groups take steps to improve or maintain their health.
Once you are a professional nurse, you might choose to focus on a particular specialty. There are numerous specialty options —each of which has its own education/certification requirements and related professional network or organization. These include: