There may be several different career paths to choose from the healthcare industry, but there is only one that is constantly on the front lines helping more people every single day. Contrary to popular belief, these people are not doctors. These people are nurses. Nurses are there every single day helping the sick and injured. They are often the very first person the patient sees, and they are the very last person that a patient sees. There are literally dozens of different types of nurses. Each type may be very different, but they all share one common thing. They are here to help the sick and injured. If you are looking for a medical career that has the ability to help thousands of people, then choosing to be a nurse is an excellent idea.
What Are the Basic Types of Nurses?
Nurses come in a wide variety of specialized fields, but there are only a few basic types of nurses. Understanding the difference in these types of nursing fields can make it easier to choose a nursing profession.
LVN – This is a licensed vocational nurse. These nurses are licensed by the state, and they most often provide routine medical care to patients in need. There are many places where a LVN can work. There are positions available in hospitals, clinics, surgical centers or doctors’ offices. A LVN requires the least amount of school to begin. It is an excellent choice for anyone that is thinking about becoming a nurse. It will allow them to get a good idea of what to expect.
RN – This is often the next step up from a LVN. A RN is a registered nurse. A registered nurse is responsible for the licensed vocational nurses that work under them. A RN is both registered and licensed in a specific state. This is the most common type of nurse in the medical industry, but this nursing position is still currently in extremely high demand.
A registered nurse is also responsible for providing a great level of care for all patients. They can help organize and coordinate many of the health services that the patient needs.
Many registered nurses will choose to further their careers by obtaining a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree. This specialized degree will allow a registered nurse to branch out into the field of healthcare administration.
Balancing a full-time career and a busy work schedule can make it difficult for anyone to further their career and education. Many registered nurses are choosing online health administration degrees. Online courses give them the freedom to continue working full-time at their job while studying at their leisure.
NP – A NP is a nurse practitioner. Choosing to further your education by becoming a nurse practitioner will allow you to choose from a specialty field of nursing. You will have more responsibilities, and as a result education requirements are much greater.
A nurse practitioner often works side-by-side with an M.D. Nurse practitioner and can prescribe medications and diagnose patients. There are some states where a nurse practitioner can operate independently by opening a nurse practitioner clinic. A nurse practitioner is still an RN. They can still do everything that a registered nurse can, and so much more.
The demand for nurse practitioners may not be as high as it is for registered nurses, but nurse practitioners earn a higher salary than most registered nurses do. This level of nursing is considered by many to be the highest level of nursing that a person can achieve. On average, it will take around six years of school and experience to become a nurse practitioner. The rewards are well-worth the extra effort. Some nurse practitioners will decide to choose from one of the many careers in healthcare management after they have been a nurse for an extended period of time.
Nursing is a hugely rewarding career choice. As you can see, each different type of nursing career will require a specialized education and the right experience for the job. One of the best things about choosing to become a nurse is the simple fact that you can start at an entry level position and work your way to the top by choosing to further your education at your own convenience.
Ralph Jenkins is a LVN by day and contributing blogger in his free time. Currently, he is furthering his education (and his career potential) by working towards a Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree.