Researched by Kacey H.


Research Summary

Nurses do many different things. The basic things that they do is care for the sick. Most work in hospitals. They also help people stay well when not sick. Most are women.

In the end of the 1700’s hospitals were dirty and pestilent places where patients usually died.

In the 1800’s modern nursing began with the Nightingale Training School for nurses.

In the 1900’s we needed many more nurses during the Spanish-American war and the two World Wars.

Types of Nurses:
There are many different types of nurses. One type of nurse is an RN, which stands for Registered Nurse. An RN works to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They are advocates and health educators for patients, families, and communities. They take at least four years of schooling. They also have at least one or two more years of schooling than an LPN, which gives the RN’s more advantages than an LPN.

Another type of nurse is an LPN. An LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. A LPN on the job would do things like take your blood pressure, make your bed for you or just come in about every half an hour to check on you. So mainly an LPN is someone that assists and helps you (when in need)!

Hospital nurses are the largest groups of nurses. Hospital nurses usually work in one area of the hospital, like surgery, the emergency room, pediatrics, or maternity. Some may work in one area, some may rotate. Most nurses are part of a staff, while some supervise LPN’s or nurses aids.

Nursing home nurses work in nursing homes, taking care of the elderly. They keep records, give medicine, start IV’s, write plans, and supervise aides and helpers. Sometimes they help with rehabilitation.

“Head Nurses or nurse supervisors direct nursing activities.’’ They make schedules, and assign duties to other nurses and aides. They also may see that records are maintained and equipment and supplies are ordered.

Office nurses work in some kind of medical office that serves people who are outpatients. They might work in a family doctor’s office, or clinic. These nurses normally help take people’s temperature, give shots, take blood pressure, and help with anything else the doctor needs.

Home health nurses help patients who are at home. Some home health nurses perform specialized care and some do simple routine care. They might help families learn how to take care of their family member. Sometimes people are in need of long term care at home, and some times for a short time. There are situations where people can call over the phone and talk to their health care nurse, and even be monitored by the nurse from a distance. 

Occupational health or industrial nurses provide nursing care at worksites to employees, customers, and others with minor injuries and illness.  They provide emergency care, prepare accident reports, and arrange further care if necessary. They also offer health counseling, assist with health examinations, and assess work environments to identify potential health or safety problems.

What They Do on the Job.
Nurses do many different things on the job. One thing a nurse would do is monitor patients and in doing that they take your temperature, your blood pressure, and your pulse. They talk to their patients. For example if I were talking to you I would say “ How are you doing today?” They also write records. They give medications. They do different procedures such as putting on a cast, and sometimes they put in IV`s.  They usually work 40-50 hours a week.

Good and Bad Aspects
Some good aspects are nurses make good money. They also get to help people and that makes them feel good to know that they played a part in helping someone recover from an illness. Some bad aspects are just having to see people and their families in sadness and illness. Hospital nurse may have to work at night and sleep during the day. This is hard if they have families at home. 

You need many different types of abilities to become a nurse. You need to know how to be patient and reassuring. For example some patients are hard to understand and they might not understand you. You also need to enjoy helping people. You should also like talking to and helping people or patients feel comfortable and relaxed.

Education and Training
To become a nurse you need two years of college. For an RN you also should take these classes, physics, biology, mathematics, chemistry, science courses,and health. You also need a license. 

Earnings and Outlook:
On average a nurse usually makes about $48,000 a year. When you first become a nurse you make about $40,000a year and you will eventually make up to about $57,500 a year. A home health nurse will probably make about $46,000 a year. A hospital nurse will make about $49,000 a year. An office nurse makes about $45,000 a year. Nursing home nurses will make about $44,000 a year.
Who I Interviewed And What I Learned
On December 20th I interviewed Trisha Reshell Swonson who is a nurse tech. A nurse tech is a nurse who is training to be a R.N and this program is only for nursing students who chose a 4-year college program.

Trisha’s mailing address is Trisha Swonson mail stop 805 3307 3rd AVE. west Seattle, Washington 98119, and her E mail address is TWebber@

She told me in order to prepare to become a nurse in the near future, I should talk to other nurses and ask them all the questions I have, have a strong desire, and like to care for and help people.

She also told me what she most enjoys about nursing: she loves to help moms through labor, and being able to hold and interact with the babies.

I think that Trisha was a good person to interview because she was an easy person to schedule a time with, and she knows a lot about training and schooling. That was exactly the kind of information I needed.

The cool thing is that Trisha was also in SOAR several years ago and for one of her projects she studied nurses!


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational  Outlook Handbook,2002-03 Edition Registered Nurses on the Internet at http://www.bls.go/ocos083.htm (visited November 25, 2003).

Cosgrove, Holli R. Encyclopedia of CAREERS and Vocational Guidance. 200 west Jackson street, suite 700 Chicago, Illinois 60606: Ferguson Publishing Company 2000. 366-367

Detreiss, Emmi. “Nurse Practitioners “.Pamphlet of Nursing.Oct.2002

Maraldo, Pamela J. “Nursing”.Encarta Enclopedia Deluxe. 2001. CD-ROM. Microsoft corporation

Maraldo, Pamela J. “Nursing”.The World Book Enclopedia. 2002

Swonson, Trisha. Personal interview. December 20, 2003.

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