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A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has graduated from a nursing program at a college or university and has passed a national licensing exam. Many first become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Some RNs continue their undergraduate training with RN-to-BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs.
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. Each registered nurse trains for one or more specialty areas. Examples of specializations are emergency care, addiction treatment, nephrology and neonatal care.
The registered nurse may complete a 2-year community college program, 3-year hospital diploma program, or 4-year college or university program to qualify to take the licensing examination. Registered Nurses sometimes hold a master's or doctoral degree. Registered nurses supervise the nursing care of clients. Most nurses work under the supervision of a physician in a hospital, a long term care facility, home health care agencies.
As of 2011, there are 2.24 million registered nurses in China. In 2008 the US had approximately 3 million nurses and Canada had just over 250,000. In the US and Canada this works out to approximately 8 nurses per 1000 people.
See also 
- 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.
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