How You May Become A Hospital Nurse

Hospital Nurse Job Description

Hospital nurses, the largest group of registered nurses (RNs), administer medical treatments and provide bedside care. They may usually work as staff nurses and may sometimes supervise licensed practical nurses or nursing aides. They typically work in one department, such as surgery, maternity, pediatrics, the emergency room, intensive care, or cancer treatment. They are responsible for monitoring the care of patients, from diet to physical activity. They give patients medications under the direction of physicians. They observe patients, carefully assessing and recording their various symptoms, as well as cataloguing their progress. They create nursing care plans and provide instruction to patients regarding how to become more independent.

Job Skills

Hospital nurses may need to have well-developed communication skills, and the ability to observe accurately and make decisions accordingly. They must be willing to work with a team, as well as supervise others. Due to the intense nature of the work, hospital nurses should be emotionally stable and have a sympathetic disposition.

Hospital Nurse Training and Education

Hospital nurses must become registered nurses (RNs) by pursuing their nursing license. In order to obtain a nursing license, which is required by all 50 States and the District of Columbia, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination. Candidates may have three different options for educational paths leading to certification as a registered nurse. The first option is obtaining a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN). BSN programs are offered through colleges and universities and take 4 years to complete,. The second option is an associate degree in nursing (ADN), offered through junior and community colleges, which takes 2 to 3 years to complete. The third option is a 3-year diploma program administered by hospitals. All three types of programs qualify students to be hired as a registered nurse, but BSNs provide graduates with the most opportunity for advancement within the nursing profession. In fact many nurses certified through ADN or diploma programs go on to enter bachelor’s programs. Click here to see a list of Nursing Schools, and/or to contact their admissions departments for more information.


In 2002, registered nurses, including hospital nurses, held approximately 2.3 million jobs, making the occupation the largest in the healthcare field. A majority of jobs were held in hospitals.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of hospital nurses is expected to increase faster than the average. More new RN jobs are expected to be created than any other occupation, mostly because of the need to replace aging registered nurses as they leave the profession. Factors such as the growing elderly population, general growth of healthcare, rising median age of registered nurses, increased emphasis on preventative treatment, technological advances will keep registered nurses in high demand.