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What is a Registered Nurse (RN)?

April 12, 2024

Registered nurses are arguably the most well-known type of nursing professional. Expected to be well-educated in medical terms and illness processes, registered nurses possess a level of education, set of skills, and years of experience in order to take on their roles effectively.

They're known to deliver and organize medical care, inform the public about various health issues, and extend emotional support to patients and their families. With the exception of certain tasks like diagnosing diseases, prescribing medication, or performing physical surgery, registered nurses are expected to fulfill myriad healthcare-related tasks.

In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about registered nurses, specifically, the definition of a registered nurse, the many names for specialty areas in the nursing profession, such as licensed nurses and/or advanced practice registered nurses, how to be a registered nurse specifically in Canada, the responsibilities that the role entails, where to apply as a registered nurse, and the projected income for this position.

Defining a Registered Nurse

Registered nurses (RNs) are the professionals who care for patients in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. To be an RN, you need to have an RN license to practice nursing in your state or province. You also need to complete a bachelor's degree (BSN) program that includes both classroom education and clinical experience.

You need to be knowledgeable in public health, be passionate about health promotion, coordinate patient care with other professionals such as licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), or medical doctors (MDs), and know about primary care and critical care, among other subfields.

To be a registered nurse, you need to register and apply for a permit to practice in the regulatory bodies in each province or territory, such as the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) for nurses wanting to practice in Alberta or BC College of Nurses and Midwives for those who want to render their services in British Columbia.

Note, though, that since these provinces have different regulatory bodies, experienced nurses who want to transfer from one Canadian jurisdiction to another should undergo another process of registration in the regulatory body of the province or territory that they'll want to practice in.

Remember also that when applying for your nursing license or permit to practice, it's always important to check the eligibility requirements provided by each regulatory body.

Some recommendations to continue developing as nursing professionals like nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists include taking up certificate courses with proper accreditation, as well as becoming a master of science in nursing or even a nursing doctoral degree to welcome other skills that improve your abilities as a nurse.

You may even choose health care settings like residential care facilities for further training or adopt a more holistic approach to your nursing profession, incorporating nutrition, mental health, or further education, for instance, in your programs provided to the patient.

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Canada

The first step to becoming a registered nurse in Canada is to complete an accredited nursing degree program at an approved college or university. Although holders of an associate degree (ADN), diploma, certification, or any other two-year program may apply for entry-level nursing roles, registered nurses are often required to be holders of a bachelor's degree in an approved nursing program in a Canadian university, which is the minimum educational requirement in many provinces or territories, such as in Ontario by the College of Nurses of Ontario.

Once you have completed your education and registered under your chosen jurisdiction, you are ready to start searching for employment opportunities as an RN. You may find jobs through direct hire recruiters or healthcare employment job boards, the most comprehensive one being Caring Support, but if you want more control over where and with whom you work, then it makes sense to apply directly through hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

A list summarizing the general steps on how to become a registered nurse in Canada.

Related: 10 Top Nursing Schools In Canada

Related: 10 Healthcare Job Boards to Post Your Job Listings

What are the Responsibilities of an RN?

As a registered nurse, you will:

Read More: Duties and Responsibilities of Registered Nurses (RN)

What Types of Nursing Jobs Are There?

There are many different types of nursing jobs for registered nurses. If you have a passion for helping people, working as a nurse is an excellent option. Registered nurses may find employment in hospitals and clinics, physicians' offices, schools, or other healthcare settings. Registered nurses also work as flight nurses on aircraft that do not have a physician on board.

For those who like to be challenged professionally, becoming an RN-PhD will open up new opportunities and possibly lead to additional earning potential over time. Advanced degrees like master's degrees and PhDs allow nurses to also advance their careers and facilitate job growth, enabling them to go to other specialized nursing careers such as becoming nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse instructors, and the like.

Similarly, there are also non-bedside nursing jobs that are now gaining popularity for nurses who'd want more flexibility and freedom in their work times while still being able to use the knowledge they learned in a nursing degree and still uplift people's lives through nursing, one of the most trusted professions.

Find the nursing job that fits your qualifications and passion with Caring Support.

Where Can I Work as an RN?

Registered nurses work in a variety of settings, including:

You may apply for work as a registered nurse in the abovementioned healthcare settings through the following:

Related: Which are the Facilities That Hire Healthcare Employees?

Related: Sample Resume For Registered Nurses

Salary of a Registered Nurse in Canada

Being a registered nurse in Canada may be considered not just a fulfilling job but a sustainable job as well. These healthcare professionals earn anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 per year, with the average median annual salary being around $50,000 per year.

In Alberta, RNs earn an average of $52,000 annually; in British Columbia and Ontario, it’s about $55,000 each year; and in Quebec, it's about $47,000 annually.

An RN performing comprehensive patient care.

Find Your Dream Job Today at Caring Support

Healthcare professionals should consider using Caring Support for several reasons. First, It provides access to a wide range of job opportunities in various specialties and settings, allowing professionals to find positions that match their skills, experience, and preferences. Second, it streamlines the job search process and saves time by easily applying to multiple positions through a single portal.

Caring Support also offers resources such as resume critiques, interview tips, and career advice to support professionals in their job search journey. Furthermore, Caring Support provides an efficient way for employers to connect with qualified candidates, making it easier for both parties to find the right fit. Overall, utilizing Caring Support can greatly benefit professionals by providing access to numerous job opportunities, resources for career development, and a streamlined application process.

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About The Author
Kate Piamonte
Content Writer

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