Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Nursing Occupations

The demand for nurses is great. In fact, registered nurses top the list of occupations in demand in Oregon, and the need is increasing steadily. Nursing partners are working hard to increase the ability to admit more students in Oregon's nursing programs in order to meet the state's overwhelming need for nurses.

There are many different careers in nursing. Nurses care for patients, become managers, teach and research. On top of these opportunities, nurses work in many types of settings.

If you are thinking about a career in nursing, read the wealth of information at the Oregon Center for Nursing. See the sections on the "Nursing Shortage" and "Learn about Nursing" and browse through the site for a great overview of this profession.

We feature the following nursing occupations on this site:

More information about nursing professions:

Registered Nurses

A Registered Nurse (RN) has a broad role in the health profession. An RN is concerned with present health problems as well as the overall health and well-being of the patient. In direct patient care, RNs assess illnesses and injuries, devise care plans, monitor progress, give medication and maintain medical records. They also assist doctors with surgery, treatment plans and exams. RNs educate and advise patients on preventing disease and injury as they follow the patient through to optimum possible health.

As part of a holistic approach to assess, cure and prevent illness, RNs systematically review other factors that might impact their patients' health such as nutrition, mental status, exercise and other lifestyle components. They also act as advocates for the patient, family and community which means working through crucial issues with the best interest of the patient in mind. Many RNs provide "case management," making sure the patient gets the care needed which might be from a variety of sources.

To handle these job responsibilities, Registered Nurses are educated in a variety of areas and develop a wide spectrum of skills. RNs need a caring and sympathetic nature — they are counted on to give emotional support to the patient and family and to watch out for the total well being of the patient. The RN role also demands excellent communication and observation skills and good judgment. They are part of a team, and their jobs require great interpersonal skills and resourcefulness.

I have always wanted to be a nurse from the time I was a little girl. I am a "fixer" and I like to take care of people. What I like most about my job are the patients I take care of. They allow me into their lives at the most vulnerable time and allow me the privilege of taking care of them without question.
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Anna Mulessa, RN
Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center

There are many different options for work as an RN, and you might choose to specialize or focus your talents and inclinations in a specific career area. For example, you might choose to specialize in a particular work setting, like long-term care, or in a particular area of a hospital like the operating room or intensive care unit. You also might devote your time to treating a certain illness or condition, like cancer or diabetes, or center in on a body system and work in cardiology. Some RNs like working with the elderly or children, and combine their medical specialties in caring for these groups.

An RN degree is also the starting point for more advanced nursing occupations such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. See the links to the Oregon Center for Nursing and the American Nurses Association at the end of this section for more on advanced practice registered nurses.

Video Description of Registered Nurse

Source: CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor)

Where RNs Work

There are many paths open to RNs, and they work in a variety of settings including:

  • Hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices
  • Residential and long-term care facilities
  • Public and community health settings
  • Schools
  • Industry and corporations

Educational Requirements

Registered nursing requires an associate's degree, but a bachelor's degree will give you better job prospects. For Oregon schools that provide RN degrees, see:

Career Pathway Roadmaps

Licensure Requirements

To become licensed, RNs must graduate from an approved registered nursing program, pass the national exam and be proficient in English. See:

Registered Nurse Earnings

Keep in mind the variety of roles and careers for RNs when you think about earning potential. The Oregon Employment Department (OED) tells us that in 2011, the average hourly wage for RNs was $36.74 and the average annual salary was $76,417.

Employment Outlook for Registered Nurses

Registered Nursing is the nation's largest health care profession and the demand for RNs statewide and nationally has been strong for many years and is steadily growing. The OED estimates that between 2010 and 2020, there will be 14,499 job openings for RNs in Oregon.

Occupations with Skills Similar to Registered Nurses

  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Physician Assistants
  • Recreational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Health Technologists and Technicians

Explore the following sources for this section for more information:

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Licensed Practical Nurses

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) gives general nursing care to patients and is under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician or dentist. In general, LPNs provide basic bedside care for the sick, injured, disabled or convalescent. Daily routines might include taking vital signs, changing bandages, bathing and grooming patients, assisting in exams, giving medications and injections, drawing blood and collecting specimens for testing, and maintaining medical records.

From 7th to 12th grade, I was a hospital volunteer and admired the nurses. The profession allows growth and choice of work areas. I love the human spirit and listening to patients. The bottom line is that I care about people and feel this work is a calling.
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Sheryl Miller, LPN
Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center

LPNs need to understand such basics as patient needs, drug properties and sterilization techniques. As LPNs work as part of a team and contribute to the patient's treatment plan, they need to interact well with others and have excellent communication skills. LPNs also help in educating the patient and families about recovery and preventative care. Duties for experienced LPNs also might include supervision of nursing assistants and other support staff.

 

Video Description of Licensed Practical Nurse

 

Source: CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor)

Where LPNs Work

LPNs work in a variety of settings including:

  • Hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices
  • Residential and long-term care facilities
  • Public and community health settings
  • Schools
  • Industry and corporations

Educational Requirements

The length of LPN training programs vary but is approximately one year. For schools in Oregon that provide LPN degrees, see:

Career Pathway Roadmaps

Licensure Requirements

LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). See:

Licensed Practical Nurse Earnings

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) reports that in 2011, LPNs earned an average hourly wage of $22.12 and an average annual salary of $46,009.

Employment Outlook for LPNs

The OED estimates that between 2010 and 2020, there will be 1,559 job openings for LPNs in Oregon.

Occupations with Skills Similar to Licensed Practical Nurses

  • Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Registered Nurses
  • Psychiatric Technicians
  • Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
  • Respiratory Therapy Technicians
  • Medical Assistants
  • Psychiatric Aides
  • Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

Explore the following sources for this section for more information:

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Certified Nursing Assistants

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) helps patients with routine yet important daily tasks. A CNA helps the patient bathe, groom, dress and eat, keeping in mind mobility problems and illnesses which make these routine tasks a challenge for the patient. As a CNA, you also help your patient sit up in bed or adjust position for comfort and health. Your supervisor will let you know about walks, range of motion and other exercises important for your patient's circulation, recovery and preventative care. Throughout the day, you will also make sure your patient's living area is clean and safe.

I chose work as a CNA because I enjoy working with people and I discovered I am good at it. My patients, from newborn to elderly, are the best part of my job. There is so much reward in helping them on their journey.
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Olivia Devers, CNA2
Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center

Typically, CNAs are under the training and supervision of a registered or licensed practical nurse who depends on the CNA to report any condition changes or problems. To help fulfill this responsibility, you observe your patient carefully, keep track of vital signs and update the patient's chart. Emergency procedures such as giving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and sending Code Blue alerts also fall under your work duties.

As a CNA, you might be the health care provider who spends the most time with the patient. Health care with dignity, compassion and respect is an important part of a CNA's responsibilities.

Video Description of Certified Nursing Assistant

 

Source: CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor)

Where CNAs Work

CNAs work in a variety of settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Residential Care Facilities
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Patients' Homes

Education and Licensure

In Oregon, CNAs must attend approved training programs which are currently 150 hours long, split between classroom hours and supervised clinical experience. For schools in Oregon that provide CNA training, see:

Once training is completed, a candidate must pass an exam to qualify for certification. With further classroom and clinical instruction, CNAs may also apply for a CNA2 certificate in Acute Care, Restorative Care or Dementia Care. See:

Career Pathway Roadmaps

Certified Nursing Assistant Earnings

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) reports that in 2011, CNAs earned an average hourly wage of $12.95 and an average annual salary of $26,937.

Employment Outlook for CNAs

The OED estimates that between 2010 and 2020, there will be 5,910 job openings for CNAs in Oregon.

Occupations with Skills Similar to Certified Nursing Assistants

CNA skills have high overlap with home health and psychiatric aides. Their skills also overlap with licensed practical nurses, psychiatric technicians, medical assistants and surgical technologists.

Explore the following sources for this section for more information:

Also see:

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Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute
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