A registered nurse's scope of practice is determined by the school and by the government responsible for health care in the region. These bodies outline what is legal practice for registered nurses and what tasks they may or may not perform. In general, registered nurses help individuals, families, and groups to achieve health and prevent disease. They care for the sick and injured in hospitals and other health care facilities, physicians' offices, private homes, public health agencies, schools, camps, and industry. Some registered nurses are employed in private practice, and a few work at home for healthcare companies.
Nurses must have the ability to get along with other people and must communicate well. They must provide, without prejudice, the best care possible for every client. Especially during critical moments, the nurse must be self-controlled and efficient and show problem solving ability. Registered nurses supervise the nursing care of clients.
In all Canadian provinces except Quebec, new registered nurses are required to have a BScN. This is either achieved through a four year university (or collaborative) program or through a bridging program for existing RPNs/LPNs. Some universities also offer compressed programs for applicants already holding a bachelor's degree in another field.
In the United States a registered nurse is a clinician who has completed at least an associate degree in nursing and has successfully completed the NCLEX-RN examination for initial licensure. Associate degrees in nursing frequently take three years to complete because of the increased volume of undergraduate coursework related to the profession of nursing. Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees include more thorough coursework in leadership and community health. A bachelor's degree or an associate degree with relevant work experience is required. The goal of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association is to promote the advancement of nursing. After meeting the eligibility requirements and passing the appropriate specialty certification exam, the designation of Registered Nurse – Board Certified (RN-BC) credential is granted.
In 2011 New York State began considering a bill, which was eventually passed by the State Legislature, to require new RNs to have their BSNs, while RNs already practicing with associate degrees would be grandfathered in, but would have 10 years to obtain their bachelor's degrees.
As of 2011, there are 2.24 million registered nurses in China. In 2008 the US had approximately three million nurses  and Canada had just over 250,000. In the US and Canada this works out to approximately eight nurses per 1000 people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the job growth rate of Registered Nurses is 24%, well above the national average of 14%.
- Advanced practice nurse
- Nurse registry
- Nursing board certification
- Nursing education
- Nursing shortage
- Registered psychiatric nurse
- "Definition of registered nurse – medical practitioner and medicine (US English)". Oxforddictionaries.com. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- Nursing (Ferguson's Careers in Focus). New York, NY: Ferguson. 2006. p. 188. ISBN 0-8160-6587-X.
- "Healthcare and Nursing Jobs at Home". At Home With the Kids. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- "Becoming an RN | Canadian Nurses Association". Cna-aiic.ca. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- "Popular Health Care Careers". OMAP. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "Statistical Communiqué on the 2011 National Economic and Social Development". stats.gov.cn. National Bureau of Statistics of China. 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- "The Registered Nurse Population : Findings from the 2008 National Sample Surveys of Registered Nurses : September 2010". Bhpr.hrsa.gov. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- "Bureau of Labor Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Registered Nurses. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
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