Nursing is a profession in the health care industry that takes a holistic approach to caring for individuals. These individuals can be suffering from an illness or disease or they can be well. Nurses promote health through direct patient care and advocacy. They can work in a variety of health care settings such as hospitals, medical offices, surgical centers, and local Health departments. The ability to practice in a specific setting is dependent on the nurse’s education and experience. Nurses have various backgrounds and there are several different types of nursing careers available today.
Types of Nurses: LPN vs RN
A licensed practical nurse, or LPN, typically trains for 12 months and receives a certificate in nursing. LPN Programs can be online or in person. They practice under direct supervision of a registered nurse or physician and provide basic and routine care. They practice in a variety of settings such as medical offices and nursing homes. Hospital accreditation standards have limited the ability for licensed practical nurses to practice in a hospital setting.
Registered nurses, or RN’s, have trained for two to four years, depending on their program. A two-year degree offers an associate in nursing and a four-year degree offers a bachelor’s in nursing. RN’s assist physicians in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and medical offices. They help treat patients with illnesses and injuries, and they provide patient education. Advanced practice registered nurses receive advanced training and have a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in a specialized area of nursing practice.
Advanced Types of Nursing Careers
Advanced practice registered nursing is an umbrella for many specialties including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. They often have autonomy as the primary caregivers.
A clinical nurse specialist focuses on an area of expertise. This area can be population focused such as geriatrics, or setting based such as an intensive care unit. Nurse practitioners are trained to provide preventive services through diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions.
A nurse midwife provides care to women during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. A nurse anesthetist is trained to safely administer anesthesia services. They provide services in settings such as emergency rooms, surgical centers, and dentist offices. Advanced practice registered nurses are a vital part of the health system because they are at the forefront of providing preventive care.