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Where Registered Nurses Work


RN Work Environment

Registered nurse checking a child's temperature

Registered nurses work in many settings, from schools to doctors’ offices.

Registered nurses held about 3.1 million jobs in 2021. The largest employers of registered nurses were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 60%
Ambulatory healthcare services 18
Nursing and residential care facilities 6
Government 6
Educational services; state, local, and private 3

Ambulatory healthcare services includes industries such as physicians’ offices, home healthcare, and outpatient care centers. Nurses who work in home health travel to patients’ homes; public health nurses may travel to community centers, schools, and other sites.

Some nurses travel frequently 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 into contact with potentially harmful and hazardous drugs and other substances. Therefore, registered nurses must follow strict guidelines to guard against diseases and other dangers, such as accidental needle sticks and exposure to radiation or to chemicals used in creating a sterile environment.

Work Schedules

Nurses who work in hospitals and nursing care facilities usually work in shifts to provide round-the-clock coverage. 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.

In April 2023, Sumner College will enroll its first RN classes with a BSN degree. Learn more by contacting admissions at 503-972-6230.

CITATION:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses,at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm (visited January 18, 2023).

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