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Registered Nurse

Registered nurses provide expert health care directly to patients. They also engage in public health education, research, and administration. Their knowledge, skills, and abilities include complex critical thinking, comprehensive assessments, provision and coordination of holistic, patient-centered care, leadership of multidisciplinary teams, and more.

Also Known As

Nurse, RN

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 3152.1: General Duty Registered Nurses

2006 NOC-S

  • D112: Registered Nurses

2011 NOC

  • 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC

  • 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2021 NOC

  • 31301: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2023 OaSIS

  • 31301.02: Occupational health nurses
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Registered nurses may work on their own or as members of a health-care team.

Key roles include:

  • Providing direct nursing care
  • Assessing the ongoing needs of individuals, families, groups, or communities
  • Planning, providing, and keeping records of nursing care
  • Coordinating client care
  • Counselling clients about health
  • Managing and delivering client care plans
  • Leading and supervising nursing and multidisciplinary teams
  • Advocating for clients

In hospitals and other health-care settings, these roles may include tasks such as:

  • Coordinating and supervising multidisciplinary teams
  • Managing cases and coordinating health care
  • Observing, assessing, and monitoring client symptoms and evaluating care
  • Making independent nursing decisions and acting on them (as appropriate)
  • Giving medications, injections, and intravenous therapy
  • Preparing clients for surgery and helping surgeons during surgery
  • Caring for birthing people during labour and delivery, and caring for newborns and their families
  • Preventing or treating injuries or illness, and managing chronic diseases
  • Teaching clients to care for and promote their health
  • Managing nursing and health-related services
  • Leading and engaging in research activities

Registered nurses may focus on providing a certain type of care (such as wound care, emergency or trauma care, or critical care). They may work in practice settings (such as home care, primary care, and ambulatory or outpatient clinics). Or they may work with certain groups of clients (such as children, or people with heart disease) to name a few.

More and more, nurses work in the community and workplace settings as well as health-care settings. To learn more, see the Community Health Nurse and Occupational Health Nurse occupational profiles.

For information about psychiatric nursing, see the Psychiatric Nurse occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Nursing is mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding work. Nurses are often exposed to biological, physical, and chemical hazards. In acute care settings, they work with very sick clients. They help lift clients and routinely handle items that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

Registered nurses often work shifts that include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

General Duty Registered Nurses

2006 NOC: 3152.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
SOCIAL

Interest in speaking to collaborate with members of an interdisciplinary health team to plan, implement, co-ordinate and evaluate patient care in consultation with patients and their families; may teach and counsel patients and their families on health-related issues in collaboration with other health care providers

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to monitor, assess, address, document and report symptoms and changes in patients' conditions; and in administering medications and treatments as prescribed by physicians or according to establish policies and protocols

DIRECTIVE

Interest in operating medical apparatus or equipment; and in supervising licensed practical nurses and other nursing staff; may develop and implement discharge planning process on admission of patients

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Registered nurses need:

  • Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Effective communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Organizational skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Good judgment and the ability to make quick decisions, especially under stress
  • Patience, understanding, and a caring attitude
  • Flexibility and commitment to safe, competent, and ethical care
  • The ability to lead and cooperate with others
  • General good health

They should enjoy:

  • Building relationships with people in varying states of health, illness, and vulnerability
  • Providing care
  • Working and consulting with others
  • Solving problems
  • Explaining care to clients and families

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC: 3012

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 104 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Apr 28, 2023 and Jun 10, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Construction Specialization: Judgement
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Tasks: Collaborate to plan, implement, co-ordinate and evaluate patient care
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Health benefits: Dental plan
Health benefits: Health care plan
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

To become a registered nurse in Alberta, graduates must meet the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta’s (CRNA) requirements. These include:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree in nursing approved by the Nursing Education Program Approval Committee OR equivalent jurisdiction as approved by CRNA
  • The NCLEX-RN national registration exam
  • A learning plan for continuing competence

Schools may require proof of current immunization, health assessments, CPR and first aid training. They may also require a security clearance.

Registered nurses may take further courses to specialize in other health care areas. See the Canadian Nurses Association website for more information.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Nurse - Registered

Registered nurses provide professional nursing services, deliver health-education programs, and provide consultative nursing services to promote, maintain, and restore client health.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf], Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation [pdf], and Registered Nurses Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) is mandatory. Only registrants with an active practice permit may provide restricted activities specified in the Regulations. This includes those who:

  • Meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public
  • Teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession
  • Supervise registered members
  • Provide services to the public in their capacity as nursing students
  • Use the title Registered Nurse or the initials RN

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Nurse - Registered.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Registered nurses work for:

  • Regional health authorities
  • Clinics (ambulatory, medical, dental, community, public health)
  • Primary care settings
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Home care agencies
  • Large corporations and insurance companies
  • Government services (prisons, outpost nursing, foreign service, Canadian Armed Forces)
  • Schools

Some nurses are self-employed in private practice.

Advancing to become a clinical nurse specialist, supervisor, or administrator may require a master’s degree in nursing or a related field. Registered nurses may also become nurse practitioners (NPs). They may do this by taking graduate courses and training in advanced clinical practice. For more information, see the Nurse Practitioner occupational profile.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses occupational group, 95.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 695 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Salaries for nurses vary depending on the employer and the nurse's hours, educational qualifications, experience, and responsibilities.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC: 3012
Average Wage
$46.21
Per Hour
Average Salary
$72,818.00
Per Year
Average Hours
30.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3012 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $36.86 $38.09 $36.85 $36.86
Overall $43.63 $47.78 $46.21 $46.51
Top $49.34 $59.44 $56.12 $59.44

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
56%
56%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
33%
33%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
15%
15%
Vacancy Rate
5%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

College Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) website: www.nurses.ab.ca

Alberta Association of Nurses (AAN) website: www.albertanursing.ca

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) website: nursesunions.ca

Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) website: www.cna-aiic.ca

United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) website: www.una.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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