Registered nurses held about 2.8 million jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most registered nurses were as follows:
Hospitals; state, local, and private
Nursing and residential care facilities
Offices of physicians
Home healthcare services
Registered nurses are the largest healthcare occupation. They work in hospitals, physicians' offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities. Others work in schools or outpatient clinics, or serve in the military. Home health and public health nurses travel to patients' homes, schools, community centers, 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.
In addition, 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 also may be on call.
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 2014, about 1 out of 6 registered nurses worked part time.