Wow, that was a rant. I tend to rant too. The education is either a two+ year associates degree or a four year bachelor's degree. Opportunities are HUGE right now due to the nursing shortage. It is definitely easy for a new grad to find work and not tough to go straight into a specialty area without paying your dues on a medical/surgical floor. The pay isn't great compared to other fields though. Paramedics make about 10 000$ a year more than nurse in my town.
Responsibilities: YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!! There is usually no doctor on most floors of the hospital so it's the nurse who is the one that has to catch any emergencies, and provide normal care.
Typical day: I am in labor & delivery so when I get to work we may have no patients or a truckload. I get to work, change into my uniform
, listen to a taped report from the nurses who were on duty before me then get to work. We coach the women, monitor the fetal heart rates, take woman's vitals, make sure neither mother and baby are in any danger, monitor how dilated she is, phone doctors for pain medication orders if the woman wants something, we usually don't call the doctor to come in until the woman is ready to push and then we assist with the delivery. If the doctor needs anything like for suturing a woman's tears we prepare the equipment, if an emergency happens we RUN the women up to the OR. A lot of our work is psych work (dealing with anxiety, fer, domestic violence, unplanned pregnancies, etc.). In between this we have to deal with allthe paperwork and the management crap (like calling and ******** at someone until they get us enough nurses on the floor). Despite the crap I do love what I do.