Helping people facing medical issues and challenges as a nurse, nurse practitioner or other nursing specialist is a rewarding career choice. While there are many vocational options available that can help increase a patient's outcome and overall health, the field of nursing holds a special place in the medical world. Nurses are health professionals that provide hands-on medical care and education to patients in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, as well as schools or as in-home caregivers.
Nursing is a promising career for the dedicated student seeking to make a difference in the lives of others. Academically, there are several options and programs available for the student. These programs allow an abundance of options to choose from when deciding what type of nurse is the best fit for the prospective nurse’s skills and knowledge.
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), provides care to patients under the supervision of an RN. A LPN is considered a general skills nurse and can easily work in a variety of medical settings. Typically, LPNs are required to complete a LPN training program from an accredited school and pass the NCLEX-PN examination.
Registered Nurses (RNs) are nurses that have achieved a two or four-year degree in nursing, typically an Associate of Science in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In order to work within a hospital or other medical facility, nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs are able to specialize in different nursing positions defined by location, health issue, and type of treatment or body system.
Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs/APRNs) are nurses that have achieved a graduate-level degree such as a Masters in Nursing, and the RN certification. These nurses are able to work as general nurses or specialize in several different areas, including Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the title of a post-graduate nurse who has fulfilled the requirements for the practice-based terminal degree after receiving a Master of Science in Nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. A Doctor of Nursing Practice is the highest level of education a nurse can achieve and continue to practice within the field of nursing. A PhD in Nursing is also available to students that wish to follow a research-oriented nursing career.
From the LPN to the DNP, nurses continue to prove a dedication to the health and wellness of people. While the demand for nurses across the country is increasing, the availability of programs designed to fit the needs of those interested in a career of nursing, including online nursing degrees, continues to grow to meet this demand. Nurses help educate and provide care for all ages, facing all types of health and wellness issues, increasing the health-related outcome for patients and instilling a sense of care and peace.