Nursing is a very noble profession. As a field of practice, nursing, offers many advantages over other professions. Nurses make a good living, have flexible schedules, and most of all care for people in their times of need. Moreover, unfailingly you will hear that it is a profession that is recession proof. Given the current global shortage in the field of nursing and the increasing demand for healthcare services, becoming a nurse is a great way to solidify your financial future.
To practice as a nurse, you will need to either be licensed or registered in the state or country you want to work in; it is possible to be licensed in several states simultaneously by meeting the respective requirements of each state. An online search or a look into your local yellow book will reveal many schools that offer nursing education. Upon completion of said program, you will be expected to pass a board licensing examination which accords you the ability to practice as a nursing professional.
Types Of Nurses
The Basics – There are two types of nurses with two separate paths to licensure, Licensed Vocational Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse (LVN/LPN) and Registered Nurse (RN). Both nurses assume the care of patients. It is faster to become an LPN, however, the duties of an LPN are limited and in most states LPNs work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse.
Advanced Nurses – Nurse Practitioners (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA).
Nursing Specialties – too many to list in this article. That’s another series I am writing.
Please note that CNAs are not nurses but play the very important role of assisting nurses in fulfilling their duties.
Education & Licensure
LPN – After attending an LPN program, the graduate LPN student is expected to pass the NCLEX-LPN examination in order to become licensed. Many LPNs go on to become Registered Nurses by attending a bridge program – LPN to RN – which takes into consideration their experience as licensed nurses. This can be either an Associate Degree (AND) or Bachelors (BSN) program.
RN – RN programs are Diploma (as in Canada), ADN or BSN. Upon attendance of an accredited nursing program, a graduate nurse is eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Passing this examination will certify the graduate as a Registered Nurse and they are eligible to work anywhere in the world, in the full capacity of a nurse. BSN nurses can opt to go for an MSN. ADN nurses can attend a bridge program to obtain their Masters degree, RN to MSN. The path to management is open for those with a BSN and above. Moreover, there are institutions which opt to hire only RNs with BSN degrees.
For the nurses who are interested in management and autonomy, new and exciting career opportunities are available. Nurse Practitioners (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are Registered Nurses who have attained a Masters Degree from program their of choice and thus achieved Advanced Practice status. You have to become a Registered Nurse in order to be eligible to for Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Anesthetists school. These programs are available as traditional on campus, online or a mix of both. Still, lots of RNs go on to retire happily after a long and rewarding career as an RN with a Diploma, ADN or BSN.