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Office Nurse

Job Duties

Office nurses provide care to patients in outpatient facilities like physicians' offices, clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, community clinics, workplaces, dialysis centers, pain management centers, and emergency medical centers. They help patients prepare for examinations, and they assist patients during examinations. They administer injections and medications under the direction of physicians. They may assist with minor surgeries. Some office nurses are also responsible for clerical duties, such as record keeping and office management. They work with patients of all ages who have all types of illnesses and injuries. They provide patients with education, pain and case management, and discharge planning.

Job Skills

Office nurses need to have well-developed communication skills, and the ability to observe accurately and make decisions accordingly. They must be willing to work with a team, as well as supervise others. Due to the intense nature of the work, office nurses should be emotionally stable and have a sympathetic disposition.

Income

In 2002, office nurses earned a median annual salary of $48,090. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $33,970, to the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $69,670.

Training and Education

Office nurses can become certified by the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN). They must also become registered nurses (RNs) by earning their nursing license. In order to obtain a nursing license, which is required by all 50 States and the District of Columbia, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination. Candidates have three different options for educational paths leading to certification as a registered nurse. The first option is obtaining a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN). BSN programs are offered through colleges and universities and take 4 years to complete,. The second option is an associate degree in nursing (ADN), offered through junior and community colleges, which takes 2 to 3 years to complete. The third option is a 3-year diploma program administered by hospitals. All three types of programs qualify students to be hired as a registered nurse, but BSNs provide graduates with the most opportunity for advancement within the nursing profession. In fact many nurses certified through ADN or diploma programs go on to enter bachelor's programs. Click here to see a list of Nursing Schools, and/or to contact their admissions departments for more information.

Employment

In 2002, registered nurses, including office nurses, held approximately 2.3 million jobs, making the occupation the largest in the healthcare field.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of office nurses is expected to increase faster than the average. Office nurses will grow at a particularly fast rate because physicians are being pressured into treating more patients in less time, increasing the need for office nurses to handle more responsibility. More new RN jobs are expected to be created than any other occupation, mostly because of the need to replace aging registered nurses as they leave the profession. Factors such as the growing elderly population, general growth of healthcare, rising median age of registered nurses, increased emphasis on preventative treatment, technological advances will keep registered nurses, including office nurses, in high demand.