It's no secret that the medical profession is booming and medical professionals are increasingly in demand to meet the many requirements of an aging population in the United States. There is a special need for qualified people in the nursing field. And so, choosing to enter the nursing profession is simultaneously a rewarding career choice and a decision that will serve others in need.
So, you've decided to become a nurse. That's great, but it’s just the first step. Once the decision has been made, you'll need to discover and choose a specific discipline within the nursing profession. What type of nurse do you want to be -- an LPN, RN or BSN? You'll find lots of opportunities for each within the field, but these positions vary greatly with respect to job descriptions, duties and educational requirements. Once you've made a decision on the type of nurse you would like to become, you can then choose an appropriate nursing school. As a primer for the profession from blue sky scrubs™, here is an overview of the different nursing job descriptions.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
The LPN is indispensable in the OR, ER and hospital. From the perspective of training, LPNs are required between one and two years and their training covers some critical areas like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and care of the patient in a practical and effective manner. As a matter of licensing, LPNs are typically required to pass state and national board exams, and the job requires regular reviews in order to keep the license active.
There are some on-the-job limitations when it comes to the daily activities of the LPN. For instance, LPNs are typically under the direct supervision of a doctor or supervising nurse. Tasks for the LPN typically include basic procedures like providing medications, cleaning wounds and monitoring vital signs like blood pressure, heart rates and temperature, as well as collecting fluid samples. On a national average, LPNs are in high demand and typically earn in the $45,000 per year range.
Registered Nurse (RN)
In terms of training, expertise and responsibilities, the RN position is a step up from the LPN. To become an RN, you must complete a two-year course of training in order to achieve the required Associates of Science in Nursing. In many cases, registered nurses can also complete the requirements via a three year study or a four-year bachelor's degree with a focus on nursing.
On the job duties of the RN include the supervision of LPNs, and the RN on duty is responsible for the complete well-being and supervision of the patient. In terms of the work environment, the registered nurse has a wide array of options. RNs are found working in the insurance industry, in law firms servicing the medical industry, schools, hospitals, clinics and surgery centers. In addition, many nurses choose to work as independent consultants for a variety of clients in a contract capacity. The typical RN earns $65,000 in the United States.
Bachelor's In Nursing (BSN)
The BSN is a specific variety of nurse with a four year degree that focuses on all aspects of the nursing profession -- including history, best practices and scientific principles.
From a working perspective, BSNs work in a very similar way to the registered nurse. Typically, they supervise other nurses and LPNs and they are primarily involved with supervision of patient care. One key difference with BSNs is that they are typically more actively involved in directly administering medications and setting up the IV. In addition, BSNs are in many cases directly involved with complex surgical procedures. The average income in the United states for an LVN is $60,000.
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