Nursing Career Information

What Do Nurses Do?

An aging population and healthcare reform laws that provide coverage for previously uninsured patients means a steady stream of people needing care, and nurses are uniquely qualified to meet the need for a growing number of health care services. Nurses also enjoy a large number of job opportunities. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career growth for Nursing is projected to increase by 16% in the next decade. A career in nursing continues to offer both a professionally and personally rewarding experience.

What is Nursing?

Simply put, nurses are life-savers. There are more than 3 million registered nurses in the United States. In fact, nurses outnumber doctors 3:1 in the healthcare industry. While doctors often specialize in one area, nurses are able to coordinate the care for all aspects of a patient’s overall health. A patient experiencing chest pains, for example, might have a cardiologist, a nephrologist and an internal medicine specialist. Each of these doctors would  diagnose, treat and prescribe medications solely for their area of expertise. The nurse, though, would be the care provider responsible for  the patient’s full care, ensuring prescriptions don’t negatively interact with one another, and that a patient understands and is prepared for treatment. When diagnostic results come in, it’s the nurse who reads them first and, if necessary, immediately notifies the appropriate doctor.

Gone are the days when nurses act as the doctors’ handmaidens; today, they are equally responsible for the overall care of the patient.

Nursing Job Description - Duties and Responsibilities

Because they are continuously monitoring and evaluating patients, nurses must be smart, adaptive, educated and skilled in critical thinking. Nurses’ responsibilities include coordinating with multiple specialists to ensure that their patients are adequately on the road to recovery. Through the different types of care, a nurse’s capabilities extend past their stereotypical personas; while many envision nurses donned in medical scrubs and running through a hospital, a nurse may come in many forms.

Specifically, here are some of the things nurses do on a typical day:

  • Conduct physical exams
  • Take detailed health care histories
  • Listen to patients and analyze their physical and emotional needs
  • Provide counseling and healthcare education to patients
  • Coordinate care with other healthcare providers and specialists
  • Stay current with advances in health care options, medications, and treatment plans
  • Draw blood, and perform other healthrelated testing
  • Check a patient’s vital signs

Where Do Nurses Work?

Not all registered nurses work in hospitals. You can find a nurse in a wide variety of health care settings, including doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, pharmacies, schools, and many other locations. Nurses have the ability to use their skills to meet the needs of their patients, pretty much wherever they are located.  For example, many nurses now assist the elderly or disabled in their homes. Some common places where nurses work include:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Offices
  • Schools
  • Pharmacies
  • Ambulance/Helicopter
  • Home health care settings
  • Senior living communities

Why Become a Nurse?

There is an old adage that you need a doctor to diagnose you, but a nurse to save your life. We can all recall a time when a nurse was needed most: from a normal check-up in a doctor’s office to an emergency situation that required a trip to the hospital.

Most people can think of a nurse who has played a significant role in their life at some time, whether it’s a family member, close friend, acquaintance, or the person you’ve been seeing at your doctor’s office for decades. You might even have a nurse in your phonebook who you dial if WebMD doesn’t quite answer your medical questions.

To become a nurse is to become someone who improves and saves the lives of others. If you’re looking for a career where you can put your desire to help others to excellent use, becoming a nurse is an excellent career path for you.

Types of Nurses

Nurses are skilled in many fields and may choose to focus their trade specifically in certain types of care such as geriatrics, critical care, pediatrics, treatment planning and case management. From working face-to-face with patients to managing their paperwork, nurses play a huge role in our lives and the profession continues to be a prosperous career path for those considering taking on this role. Some types of nurses include:

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • NICU Nurse
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse
  • Travel Nurse
  • Neonatal Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Ambulatory Nurse
  • Clinical Nurse Practitioner
  • School Nurse
  • Nurse Educator

What are Nursing Salaries?

According to labor and statistics, the median salary for a Registered Nurse (RN) is $66,6400, and can range as high as $130,000 per year. On average, nursing salaries are 7% higher than the average job salary nationwide. Different classifications of nurses will earn different salaries:

Median Annual Full Time Nursing Salaries in the U.S.

Nurse Career Option

Median Salary in the U.S.

Nurse Anesthetist

$130,000

Family Nurse Practitioner

$95,000

NICU Nurse

$80,000

ER Nurse

$73,000

Labor and Delivery Nurse

$70,000

Travel Nurse

$67,000

Pediatric Nurse

$65,000

Ambulatory Nurse

$64,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 How to Become a Nurse?

Since nursing is such a highly sought after profession that requires advanced training, education is key to your successful journey to becoming a nurse. Many employers now prefer that nurses have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) over an Associate Degree in Nursing (ASN) or RN. Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) develop the breadth of knowledge and clinical experience needed to succeed in today’s complex healthcare system.

After you have successfully completed your courses, you can sit for required licensure exams.

If you’re looking to further advance your nursing career, you can go on to complete your Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN).

Undergraduate Nursing Degree Programs

At Gwynedd Mercy University, you can choose from four undergraduate Nursing programs that fit your lifestyle. Whether you’re a traditional college student looking to live and learn on campus, or are looking to make a career switch from another field to nursing, GMercyU has the right path for you:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN): Provides the knowledge and clinical experience necessary to meet the needs of today’s patients

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN): This program is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, and would like to become a nurse by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). This accelerated 16-month program requires you to enroll on a full time basis during the day.

Weekend Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN): If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, but would like to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), this three-year program allows you to complete the degree by taking classes on the weekends.

If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, but would like to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), this three-year program allows you to complete the degree by taking classes on the weekends.

Online Accelerated RN to BSN Degree Program: If you are already a registered nurse and would like to complete your bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), you can enroll in this online accelerated program.

Graduate Nursing Programs

Gwynedd Mercy University also offers three graduate level nursing programs and two post-graduate level nursing programs.

Clinical Nurse Specialist – Adult Gerontology (MSN)

Nurse Practitioner Degree Program (MSN)

Nurse Educator Degree (MSN)

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP)

PostMaster’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program