How to Hire a Registered Nurse

How to Hire a Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses (RNs) are essential to any nursing team, and hiring the right talent will set your entire healthcare group up for success. Not only do RNs administer medical care, but they also work in conjunction with doctors and manage relationships with patients. From hospitals to long-term care facilities, and even schools or telehealth organizations, most medical settings wouldn’t be able to function without RNs.

Within the nursing hierarchy, Registered Nurses fall under Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and above Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). As mentioned, RNs are able to administer medications and provide treatment to patients – duties CNAs and LPNs are not permitted to perform. RNs may also observe patient symptoms and report back to physicians, but unlike Nurse Practitioners, they cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medication.

There are different specialties for RNs, but most positions will have the same core responsibilities:

  • Assess patients
  • Record medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer medications and treatments
  • Help set up plans for care
  • Control safety and infection
  • Support and educate patients and their families
  • Work with doctors and other nurses

You can see why Registered Nurses are considered the backbone of the medical field; they meet with patients, doctors, and families every day to coordinate care. That makes hiring the best talent a necessity. So, what makes a great Registered Nurse?


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Qualifications to Look for When Hiring a Registered Nurse

When hiring an RN, your candidates need to have two core requirements: They must have obtained either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and they must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam.

Achieving the various RN specialty career titles, like Critical Care Registered Nurse, Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse, Home Care Registered Nurse, Emergency Registered Nurse, and more, may require further training or education, however.

Because RNs provide emotional and educational support for patients, in addition to medical care, they need to be empathetic and compassionate. They are relied on by many, and face difficult situations regularly, so RNs must also be able to work in high-stress environments.


Qualifications & Skills for a Registered Nurse

The following are the most required or desired skills for Registered Nurses:


RN Qualifications


Education and Experience

A two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is needed to be a Registered Nurse. Most RNs you’ll come across in your candidate search will have two or fewer years of on-the-job experience.



Licensing and Certifications Required for a Registered Nurse

All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to be licensed as a Registered Nurse. Additional licenses and certifications may be required for other specialties.


What is a Fair Registered Nurse Salary?

To attract the best talent, you’ll have to offer competitive pay. The median annual Registered Nurse salary in the U.S. is $65,274, but that number could change depending on the candidate’s specialty. For example, a Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse can make around $99,000, and a Home Care Registered Nurse can make around $52,000. For location-specific salary details, visit our free Salary Research Tool


RN Salary


Sample Registered Nurse Job Description

An appealing Registered Nurse job description is key to attracting top nursing talent. Make sure your job description contains a two to three word title (ideally, the position you’re hiring), and describes the job responsibilities, qualifications and skills for a registered nurse. Include information about your company culture (what it’s like to work there), and list any notable benefits and perks. Close out your posting with a clear and compelling call to action to convince candidates to apply. Use this sample job description for a Registered Nurse to get you started:

Registered Nurse (RN)

ABC Hospital is seeking a Registered Nurse (RN) to join our nursing staff to provide quality healthcare to our patients in Frederick, Maryland. You will work with physicians and staff to care for patients and be responsible for tasks such as creating and maintaining patient records, administering medication and monitoring for side effects, recording vital signs, and reporting symptoms and changes in patient conditions.

An Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing is required, along with a completed NCLEX-RN exam. A professional and compassionate attitude, as well as effective communication skills and the ability to work under pressure, are keys to success in this role.

Job Responsibilities

  • Assessing patients and implementing or planning nursing care plans
  • Recording medical histories and symptoms
  • Administering medications or treatments and monitoring patients for side effects
  • Adjusting care plans based on patient responses
  • Assisting healthcare team members in diagnostic testing
  • Controlling safety and infection in patients
  • Supporting and educating patients and their families
  • Working alongside doctors and other nurses

Requirements & Qualifications

  • ASN or BSN degree
  • Successful passing of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • CPR Certification
  • Experience in hospital environment
  • Effective communication skills
  • A friendly yet professional attitude



Best Interview Questions to Ask a Registered Nurse

Asking these Registered Nurse interview questions along with the more traditional job interview questions will help you find the best fit for your nursing team:

  • Describe a time you went above and beyond for a patient.
  • Tell me about a situation when you dealt with an unhappy patient or family member.
  • How would you explain healthcare situations or treatments without using a lot of medical jargon?
  • What would you do if you didn’t know the answer to a patient’s question?
  • How have you handled miscommunication between you and a healthcare team member? Give a specific example.
  • Discuss an instance when you were under a lot of pressure. How did you handle it?
  • What is your idea of effective patient and family education?


Additional Tips for Hiring a Registered Nurse

If you’re still wondering how to hire a Registered Nurse, keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to hire recent graduates. Many RN applicants don’t yet have on-the-job experience.
  • Sell your employer brand as highly organized and committed to care.
  • Mention training and continued education opportunities, if applicable, to appeal to candidates’ growth mindset.
  • Be understanding of scheduling needs and try to work around them.


Related Resources


Where to Hire a Registered Nurse

Start your search for qualified talent on iHireNursing.


by: Doug Atkinson
January 10, 2022