RNs help very sick people return to health, and also help keep people healthy by preventing disease. Nurses are concerned with the physical aspects of health and illness, as well as the psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions of people of all ages. Nurses also provide care and comfort to patients as they die.
Many RNs work in hospitals, but nurses are also employed in other practice settings such as people's homes, clinics, nursing homes, schools, hospice, the military, and corporations/health related industries. As professionals who are responsible for coordinating patient care 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (including weekends and holidays), nurses spend much time in direct patient care. Nurses must be able to assess a patient's condition to prevent complications, interpret laboratory findings, monitor equipment and maintain life support machinery, counsel grief stricken families, communicate effectively with other health care professionals, and make the right decision about a patient's situation using sound judgment, in a calm, organized manner.
Someone who wants to become a nurse must
  • enjoy working with people
  • have a strong background in math and the sciences
  • have good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
  • have the ability to remain calm in emergency situations
  • have the ability to deal with high levels of stress
  • have an ability for problem-solving using common sense & thinking skills
  • have good organizational skills
  • have very good written, oral, and computer communication skills
  • have an affinity for machines and computers
  • have patience, persistence, tolerance, and flexibility
  • have good observational skills
  • have confidence in decision-making skills

Applicants to a nursing program should be aware that a criminal background check may be required while they are enrolled in the program, or as a condition of employment in the field; certain internship and/or practicum sites, such as health care facilities, may limit or deny clinical privileges to those who have a prior or current criminal record; and certain licensing boards may refuse to issue a license to practice based upon prior or current criminal offense(s).