?Registered Nurses (RNs) are licensed health care professionals who assess, plan, evaluate, and provide direct nursing care to patients. Comprising the largest healthcare occupation in the U.S. today, RNs practice in a wide variety of settings. Some of these include doctors' offices, hospitals, clinics, outpatient treatment facilities, and home health care agencies. Typical duties for RNs include such tasks as recording patients' medical histories and symptoms, administering treatment and medications, helping conduct diagnostic tests, analyzing test results, and assisting in patient follow-up and rehabilitation. They are very often responsible for establishing a plan of care or taking part in the planning. RNs in many cases also coordinate health screening or immunization clinics, run blood drives, and conduct public seminars on various medical topics. Education, Certification, Licensing Those who aspire to become registered nurses can follow any of four major educational paths: a master's degree in nursing (MSN), a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma. BSN programs, offered by colleges and universities, generally take four years to complete; whereas ADN programs, offered by community and junior colleges, take about 2 years. Diploma programs vary in length and are usually administered in hospitals. Many RNs with an ADN or diploma will choose at some later point in time to work toward a BSN by completing what is known as an RN-to-BSN program to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice. The choice of which path to follow depends on an individual's desired career path. A higher-level degree will lead to a more advanced level of registered nursing. A BSN is often necessary for administrative positions and is a prerequisite for admission to an MSN program. Advanced fields of registered nursing (e.g., nurse practitioner) usually require an MSN degree. Registered nurses must be licensed, and licensing is done on a state-by-state basis. Currently, all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, require RNs to pass a national licensing examination known as the NCLEX-RN in order to obtain a registered nursing license. This exam is developed and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). All states require periodic renewal of licenses, and in most cases renewal is contingent upon the accrual of continuing education credits during the period of time since the last renewal. This article on RN schools and jobs has been provided courtesy of City Town Info.