a dark blue TraitLab logo
Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Registered Nurse

Also known as Charge Nurse, Emergency Department RN (Emergency Department Registered Nurse), Oncology RN (Oncology Registered Nurse), Operating Room Registered Nurse (OR RN), Public Health Nurse (PHN), Registered Nurse (RN), School Nurse, Staff Nurse, Staff RN (Staff Registered Nurse)

Registered Nurse

Also known as Charge Nurse, Emergency Department RN (Emergency Department Registered Nurse), Oncology RN (Oncology Registered Nurse)

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$53,410 - $116,230 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Psychology
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Medicine and Dentistry
Core tasks
  • Record patients' medical information and vital signs.
  • Administer medications to patients and monitor patients for reactions or side effects.
  • Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records.
Is Registered Nurse the right career path for you?

Would Registered Nurse be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Registered Nurse and hundreds of other career paths.

Get started with TraitLab

What does a Registered Nurse do?

Registered Nurses assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records.

In addition, Registered Nurses

  • administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients,
  • may advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management,
  • licensing or registration required.

What kind of tasks does a Registered Nurse perform regularly?

Registered Nurses are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Record patients' medical information and vital signs.
  • Administer medications to patients and monitor patients for reactions or side effects.
  • Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records.
  • Monitor, record, and report symptoms or changes in patients' conditions.
  • Provide health care, first aid, immunizations, or assistance in convalescence or rehabilitation in locations such as schools, hospitals, or industry.
  • Consult and coordinate with healthcare team members to assess, plan, implement, or evaluate patient care plans.
  • Direct or supervise less-skilled nursing or healthcare personnel or supervise a particular unit.
  • Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
  • Modify patient treatment plans as indicated by patients' responses and conditions.
  • Instruct individuals, families, or other groups on topics such as health education, disease prevention, or childbirth and develop health improvement programs.
  • Conduct specified laboratory tests.
  • Observe nurses and visit patients to ensure proper nursing care.
  • Assess the needs of individuals, families, or communities, including assessment of individuals' home or work environments, to identify potential health or safety problems.
  • Work with individuals, groups, or families to plan or implement programs designed to improve the overall health of communities.
  • Prepare patients for and assist with examinations or treatments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Registered Nurses. More generally, Registered Nurses are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Registered Nurse salary?

The median salary for a Registered Nurse is $75,330, and the average salary is $80,010. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Registered Nurse salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Registered Nurses earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Registered Nurses earn less than $53,410 per year, 25% earn less than $61,630, 75% earn less than $93,590, and 90% earn less than $116,230.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Registered Nurses is expected to change by 9.0%, and there should be roughly 194,500 open positions for Registered Nurses every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$53,410 - $116,230
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Registered Nurses?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Registered Nurse are usually higher in their Social, Investigative, and Conventional interests.

Registered Nurses typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Registered Nurses typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Registered Nurses typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Registered Nurse tend to value Relationships, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Registered Nurses very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Registered Nurses very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Registered Nurses strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Registered Nurses must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Registered Nurses, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Registered Nurses need?

Many Registered Nurses will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Registered Nurses usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Registered Nurses

  • 0.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 0.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 3.8% completed some college coursework
  • 29.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 52.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 10.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 2.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Registered Nurses

Registered Nurses may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as psychology, customer and personal service, or medicine and dentistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Registered Nurses might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Registered Nurses

Registered Nurses must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Registered Nurses need abilities such as problem sensitivity, deductive reasoning, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Registered Nurses, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Registered Nurses

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Registered Nurses frequently use skills like social perceptiveness, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Registered Nurses, ranked by their relative importance.

Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.