Nursing is one of the most lucrative careers today. Education and experience is the key to a successful nursing career.
Nurses fall into various categories. There are registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and licensed vocational nurses. The main variation in these categories is the level of education that each requires. On being certified in one of the above categories, a nurse has a choice to work as a correctional nurse, a travel nurse, a nurse midwife, a public health nurse or a nurse practitioner.
The field of registered nurses is the largest in the nursing career. The nurses work directly with patients providing a whole range of services which include patient evaluation, administering medication, running medical tests, keeping patient records, observation of patients’ reaction to treatment and being in direct consultation with families. Registered nurses are also charged with the responsibility of supervising nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses.
To become a registered nurse, one is required to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing (BSN), which takes approximately 4 years of training or alternatively pursue a nursing diploma. The curriculum includes a basic foundational course in English and Math, as well as courses that are more advanced including:
- Nursing Fundamentals
- Nursing Concepts
- Human Anatomy
- Human Physiology
- Nursing Psychology
After completing the degree or diploma program, you will need to sit for a national licensing exam to be able to start practicing as a registered nurse. You will then be in a position to work in different hospital departments such as ER and ICU as well as in hospices and nursing homes. Registered nurses can also take up training in other specialized fields such as midwifery. A nurse midwife may also specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. Other categories include home health nurses trained to provide home-based care and certified registered nurse anesthetists who specialize in anesthetics.
Registered nurses and doctors supervise Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are also called Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN). Those who aspire to work as LPN need to have a high school diploma to be eligible to join a nursing training program in a hospital, college or vocational school. Those who pass the national licensing exam qualify to work as LPN. A Licensed Practical Nurse who wishes to become a Registered Nurse must go for further training to attain that qualification.
Certified Nursing Assistant
(CNAs) is an entry-level position for most people who wish to join the nursing profession. These too work under the supervision of registered nurses. You will require a high school diploma to join a college or hospital training program. Those who possess a General Educational Development (GED) diploma also qualify to join the program. One needs to pass a state exam to qualify to practice in a particular state. CNA’s main duties revolve around patient care in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities.
Travel nurses are nursing staff who have qualified in any of the above-mentioned nursing categories. They however opt to look for employment in areas where there is a shortage of nurses. Such employment often comes with generous package, which includes insurance, housing a good salary among other additional benefits. To become a travel nurse, one needs to apply to a hospital or register with an employment agency. On passing the interview, you have an opportunity to choose your preferred station from among available positions in different locations. Most travel nurses are temporary employees. They practice their trade by moving from one health facility to another in different parts of the country or even internationally.
Correctional nurses work in prison, jail and other correctional facilities. To become one, you need to have qualified as a nurse first in any of the categories mentioned above. Apart from their normal nursing duties, they also help the doctors perform medical procedures on sick convicts.
The nursing field has many specializations. All you need to do is identify your preferred category. Many nurses started working as CNA’s and later pursued further training to become LVN or even a RN. With such qualifications, one may work in the ER or ICU. Other nurses have acquired specialized training in pediatrics and others in geriatrics. The sky is the limit for those who are determined.