A Registered Nurse (RN) is a nurse who has graduated from a nursing program and met the requirements outlined by a country, state, province or similar licensing body in order to obtain a nursing license.An RN’s scope of practice is determined by legislation, and is regulated by a professional body or council.
Registered nurses are employed in a wide variety of professional settings, and often specialize in a field of practice. They may be responsible for supervising care delivered by other healthcare workers, including student nurses, licensed practical nurses, unlicensed assistive personnel, and less-experienced RNs.
Registered nurses must usually meet a minimum practice hours requirement and undertake continuing education in order to maintain their license.Furthermore, there is often a requirement that an RN remain free from serious criminal convictions
The registration of nurses by nursing councils or boards began in the early twentieth century. New Zealand registered the first nurse in 1901 with the establishment of the Nurses Registration Act. Nurses were required to complete three years of training and pass a state-administered examination. Registration ensured a degree of consistency in the education of new nurses, and the title was usually protected by law. After 1905 in California, for example, it became a misdemeanour to claim to be an RN without a certificate of registration.
Registration acts allowed authorities a degree of control over who was admitted to the profession. Requirements varied by location, but often included a stipulation that the applicant must be “of good moral character” and must not have mental or physical conditions that rendered them unable to practice.
As nursing became more of an international profession, with RNs travelling to find work or improved working conditions and wages, some countries began implementing standardized language tests (notably the International English Language Testing System).