The Healthcare industry shows a significant complexity compared to other disciplines. In the field of the nursing profession, you can find several distinctions and classifications. These reflect the educational level of each nurse and what her duties are. Having graduated from a Christian nursing major makes it easier for you to ascend the steps of the nursing hierarchy.
If you have no clue about the various nurses’ classification according to their education and practice, the following lines would be quite informative to understand the nursing profession in the United States:
1. Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Nursing assistants are the most populous nursing staff in hospitals. You don’t need any specialized post-high school education to become a CNA. A clean criminal record and completion of a state-approved program can grant you the CNA title and give you employment in hospitals. As the word states, a CNA is there to assist higher-educated nurses in performing their duties. Their job is in nursing homes, hospitals, and other private practices. If you are a CNA, you can also work as an independent contractor with people who are disabled and in need of a permanent caregiver.
Their salary is inferior to other nurses, and they may be the median between patients, doctors, and nurses while being employed in hospitals. They can also administer certain drug categories to patients under direct surveillance from a superior nurse after receiving further education.
2. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
You may find such practical nurses in many hospitals around the country. They usually have received higher education in approved community colleges and chose to train as practical nurses. Their education has been on the field, watching other nurses provide care to their patients. To become a licensed practical nurse, you need to register and graduate from a state-approved Practical Nursing Diploma or Certificate program.
Upon graduation, LPNs must have their NCLEX-PN exam and receive their state license to work as an LPN within the State’s jurisdiction. After years of inactivity, LPNs were finally admitted for certain specialties like surgery, perinatal, children’s disability, etc. LPNs are the second largest population of nurses in the United States and are held liable for the patient’s status when other higher-educated nurses are absent.
3. Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered Nurses (RNs) are the highest-educated nurses in the United States. They have usually completed a four-year university course focused on all health topics addressed in the medical school. However, their education is focused on the delivery of care to the hospitalized patient. RNs usually must have a prior associate’s degree with a higher GPA to be eligible for registration. They can graduate in 18 months if they have previous working experience and higher GPAs in their previous degrees.
They are the highest-earning nursing professionals and the ones with the greatest shortage. To become a registered nurse, you would have to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam mandated by the Federal Government. You may also need to pass state board exams to take a local license in the State you want to work. RNs are also free to pursue other academic careers and become professors in Nursing Schools across the country. They also take specialties according to their domain of interest. Some of the usual RN specialties include mental health, child care, emergency care, etc. Registered nurses may also oversee LPNs and CNAs in their clinics.
4. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
When a Registered Nurse acquires a Master’s Degree can become an APRN. They can have their private practice or collaborate with physicians to make clinical decisions about patients. APRNs can prescribe drugs in some jurisdictions or even mandate patients to undergo specific diagnostic tests.
In terms of employment, APRNs can become School nurses and run the emergency patient admissions center in greater healthcare organizations. They can also become instructors for other RNs and nurses who need continuing education. To become an APRN, you would need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Then you will have to enroll in a Master’s Degree program and graduate. A relevant clinical experience in the field you are most interested in would be highly desirable.
After receiving all your degrees, you still have to apply for State board accreditation. Additional exams may be required according to the jurisdiction. APRNs usually are the nurses of higher authority in a hospital setting. They may run the entire hospital nursing staff, regulate their continuous education plan, and collaborate with physicians to ensure the smooth operation of all clinics and surgery rooms.