Registered Nurse  What They Do

Just the Facts


Registered Nurses Career Video



Assesses patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administers nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Maintains accurate, detailed reports and records.
  • Administers medications to patients and monitors patients for reactions or side effects.
  • Records patients' medical information and vital signs.
  • Monitors, records, and reports symptoms or changes in patients' conditions.
  • Consults and coordinates with healthcare team members to assess, plan, implement, or evaluate patient care plans.
  • Modifies patient treatment plans as indicated by patients' responses and conditions.
  • Monitors all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
  • Directs or supervises less-skilled nursing or healthcare personnel or supervises a particular unit.
  • Prepares patients for and assists with examinations or treatments.
  • Instructs individuals, families, or other groups on topics such as health education, disease prevention, or childbirth and develops health improvement programs.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner -- Provides advanced nursing care to patients with acute, critical and chronic conditions in order to stabilize them, minimize complications, manage additional on-going health care problems and promote physical and psychological well-being.
  • Cardiology Nurse Practitioner -- Tends to patients with heart conditions, such as angina and congestive heart failure.
  • Critical Care Unit Nurse (CCU Nurse) -- Provides direct nursing care for patients who are acutely and/or critically ill.
  • Emergency Room Nurse -- Provides care for patients with various types of illness or trauma requiring emergency attention and must be able to recognize and effectively treat life-threatening conditions.
  • Forensic Nurse -- Has specialized training in forensic evidence collection, criminal procedures, legal testimony expertise, and more.
  • Hospice Nurse -- Specializes in caring for the terminally ill.
  • Infection Control Nurse -- Helps prevent patient infections in hospitals and clinics by instructing other nurses and health care staff on proper sanitation procedures, studying patients’ bacteria to identify any infections that may have possibly resulted from a patient's health car
  • Midwife -- Provides full-course care to women and their babies during pregnancy, labour, birth and the post-natal period.
  • Neonatal Nurse -- Provides the care of newborn infants and may care for healthy infants, provide focused care for premature or ill newborns, or work exclusively with seriously ill newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit.
  • Obstetrics Nurse (OB Nurse) -- Cares for and educates women during pregnancy, childbirth, and shortly after childbirth.
  • Occupational Health Nurse -- Employed by organizations to promote employee health and wellness, increase compliance with occupational health and safety legislation, provide emergency response and first aid training, and facilitate the rehabilitation of sick or injured employees.
  • Oncology Nurse -- Cares for and educates patients who have cancer.
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner -- Treats babies to young adults, diagnosing illnesses, conducting exams, and prescribing medication.
  • Prenatal Nurse -- Focuses on care of pregnant women, during both the pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Psychiatric Nurse -- Provides professional nursing and mental health nursing services in mental health care facilities and in the community.
  • School Nurse -- Focuses on the health and well-being of the students and staff members and addresses immediate student health issues concurrent with planning and implementing programs to promote good health.
  • Surgical Nurse -- Assists surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals throughout surgery and cares for patients before, during and after the procedure.