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Staff Nurse

Education and Training: Associate’s degree required
Average Salary: $62,000
Job Outlook: Excellent

A staff nurse is a registered nurse who works with a team in a hospital or other healthcare organization. A staff nurse is opposed to a practice nurse, who collaborates with physicians or practices on his or her own in a primary care facility. Staff nurses can have all sorts of specialties, including obstetrics, anesthetics, midwifery, and pediatrics. Staff nurses often work in hospitals, and this is where most nursing jobs are to be found.

Most of the time, registered nurses begin as staff nurses at hospitals or other care facilities, including nursing homes. They work on a shift and in combination with other team members. Staff nurse responsibilities include direct patient care as well as record keeping, dispensing of medication, and even monitoring several patients with the help of the latest medical devices that send signals and information to a centrally located nursing station. Staff nursing can be a demanding job, but it’s also rewarding because these nurses work directly with patients in some excellent healthcare settings.

Education and Training Requirements

Staff nurses are registered nurses, which means they have gone through a certification, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree program. These nurses are registered in the state in which they work, and if they move out of state, they may need to re-register within that state.

Continuing education and training is often provided by the staff nurse’s employer, who will also conduct preliminary trainings on the facility’s policies and procedures. Newer staff nurses may work with more experienced nurses in the beginning as they learn how to navigate the healthcare facility where they are working and to deal with patients in a hands-on manner.

Getting the Job

Staff nursing positions are available almost everywhere, and nurses with the proper degrees and credentials can walk into facilities and apply in person, or they can apply online. Entry level staff nurses may have to work the less desirable shifts, but they can quickly move to their desired shifts after putting in some time in a healthcare facility.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Growth in the medical field is explosive, so the job outlook for staff nurses in the next few years is excellent. It is projected that job openings will be most prevalent in physicians’ offices and home health care services, though nursing facilities and hospitals will also be hiring plenty of nurses in the near future.

Many staff nurses go on to advance in the situation where they are already working by earning supervisory positions that place them over other nurses. Others may advance by taking continuing education courses and specializing further in one particular nursing field, such as surgery. Still others eventually earn a master’s degree to become nurse-midwives or nurse practitioners, who are capable of seeing patients in a doctor’s stead and, in many instances, are able to write basic prescriptions.

Working Conditions and Environment

Most staff nurses work in comfortable healthcare environments. This can be a stressful job, as nurses must often juggle many patients in a shift and must keep patient needs and records straight in their minds. Staff nurses also tend to work long hours, but they are paid overtime if they work more than forty hours in a week. Nurses who work less desirable weekend shifts may get paid more per hour than their counterparts who work during the week.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a registered nurse is $62,400, and most nurses make between $51,000 and $76,7000 per year. The lowest paid nurses make less than $43,000, and the highest paid earn about $92,000 or more per year. The highest paid nurses work for employment services and medical hospitals, while the lowest paid, on average, work for nursing care facilities.

Most staff nursing positions come with healthcare coverage and retirement plan options. Nurses may also get childcare subsidies and benefits and benefits for continuing education. Besides this, they often benefit from flexible work schedules and paid time off.

Where to Go for More Information

American Nurses Association
8515 Georgia Ave., Ste. 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 628-5000

National Council of State Boards of Nursing
111 E. Wacker Dr., Ste. 2900
Chicago, IL 60601

National League for Nursing
61 Broadway, 33rd Floor
New York, NY 10006
(212) 363-5555

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine