Registered nurses held about 3.0 million jobs in 2016. The largest employers of registered nurses were as follows:
|Hospitals; state, local, and private
|Ambulatory healthcare services
|Nursing and residential care facilities
|Educational services; state, local, and private
Ambulatory healthcare services includes industries such as physicians’ offices, home healthcare, and outpatient care centers. In addition, some nurses serve in the military. Nurses who work in home health travel to patients’ homes, while public health nurses may travel to community centers, schools, and other sites.
Some nurses move frequently, traveling in the United States and throughout the world to help care for patients in places where there are not enough healthcare workers.
Injuries and Illnesses
Registered nurses may spend a lot of time walking, bending, stretching, and standing. They are vulnerable to back injuries because they often must lift and move patients.
The work of registered nurses may put them in close contact with people who have infectious diseases, and they frequently come in contact with potentially harmful and hazardous drugs and other substances. Therefore, registered nurses must follow strict, standardized guidelines to guard against diseases and other dangers, such as radiation, accidental needle sticks, or the chemicals used to create a sterile and clean environment.
Because patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities need round-the-clock care, nurses in these settings usually work in shifts, covering all 24 hours. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be on call, which means that they are on duty and must be available to work on short notice. Nurses who work in offices, schools, and other places that do not provide 24-hour care are more likely to work regular business hours.