If you just read a lot of the threads you may well get a sense of what nurses do.
I also would recommend www.nursingprofession.com
a web site put up by the national league for nursing.
Nurses are educated at the 2, 3 or 4 year level and Registered Nurses primarily assess, plan, implement and evaluate the care of patients/clients experiencing deviations in health in a wide range of phenomena. Nursing can occur at the bedside of acutely ill patients but also in the community. One of the advantages of a good nursing program is that it should equip you with a broad range of knowledge to function at an entry level in a wide range of settings.
In the hospital environment, typical nursing activities include:
*Assessing the current status of a patient (physical, mental emotional etc) in order to provide patient specific care
*giving medicines and titration of medicines in certain environments (some patients will require minute to minute management of medicines in order to maintain homeostasis)
*providing for functions they can not provide for themselves including turning, toileting, feeding, airway management;
*Providing a safe environment
*teaching the patient and his family about his disease and self-care
*evaluating and recognizing critical parameters and working with physicians to intervene appropriately on them
*the ability to multl-task
*safe administration of medicines including oral, iv and intra-muscular injection routes
*the ability to accept and work with a wide range of personalities and to communicate effectively
*the ability to take on responsibility (gradually acquired in school)
*willingness to be highly accountable
*joy of working with the human animal
this is a partial listing.
I have been a nurse for nearly 24 years. I have been able to work in a variety of settings and meet some really neat people. Nurses are pretty nice people and you better hope they are since hospital nurses spend more holidays with their work colleagues than their families.
I personally recommend the BSN for maximum career mobility but you will find that that is highly debated in literally hundreds of threads.