Nursing has always played an essential role within the healthcare industry and is seen as one of the oldest and most noble professions. Dedicated to healing the sick and injured, nurses have traditionally been viewed as caring and compassionate human beings who administer kindness and concern along with medication.
If you are considering entering this field of healthcare or are looking to advance within it, you may be surprised to learn that there are several different levels within nursing. There are generally three types of educational requirements for a career in nursing. These are non-degree nursing programs, undergraduate degrees such as Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and advanced degrees like Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). You can find out more about post masters DNP online here. This article will outline some of the different levels within nursing in more detail.
1. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
LPNs provide primary patient care by working alongside physicians making this an ideal starting ground for many nurses to gain experience. Although the scope of their duties is limited compared to registered nurses (RNs), some of their responsibilities include tasks such as changing bandages, taking a patient’s blood pressure, inserting catheters and helping with personal care.
RNs are responsible for wide-ranging duties such as administering medication, assessing and monitoring patients’ conditions, and advising patients and their families on care plans and treatment options. Some of the specialties at this level include pediatrics, neonatal, emergency room, oncology and pain management.
3. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
An APRN is an RN who has gained further education at a Masters or post-Masters levels. This enables them to treat and diagnose illnesses, develop treatment plans and prescribe medications. In addition to this, becoming an APRN allows practitioners to take on a leadership role that may involve advising the public on certain health-related issues or overseeing patient advocacy.
4. Nursing Management
Nursing management involves a less hands-on approach to patient care in favor of an administrative or executive role that oversees nursing teams and best practices within an organization. Nurse managers are tasked with supervising staff and day-to-day operations and there is often an emphasis on financial and budgetary matters.
Some of the responsibilities of a nurse manager include supervising the hiring and training of team members and working with stakeholders and management to optimize patient care and outcomes. With the U.S. currently in the midst of a critical nursing shortage which is expected to continue up until 2030, the demand for professionals in this area of healthcare is greatly in need.
When deciding which level of nursing to choose from, it is important to think about your overall career goals and any areas of specialty you are drawn to. Does the thought of working directly with patients and helping them to heal from illnesses and injuries motivate you, or would you prefer to assist by making executive decisions relating to healthcare policies and practices instead?
As this article has highlighted, whichever line of work you are most suited to, nursing offers you a path to grow professionally and progress in your career.