Suppose this isn’t your first time considering a nursing career. In that case, you already know that it is an incredibly diverse field and its requirements are endless. There are various nursing careers that you can choose from, so how do you know which one will be right for you? How can you ensure you are taking proper steps towards your dream nursing job? While many nurses-to-be look at educational requirements and salaries, something outweighs them all: a nurse’s role in the healthcare system. Knowing how each nursing type plays a vital role in the general healthcare system, your decision will come from a more confident and informed place in your mind.
Today, this is where we come in to help you in making such a decision. We will provide you with an easy-to-follow cheat-sheet about the various nurse practitioner types, their degree requirements. Suppose you always find yourself glancing at the letters placed after a particular nursing type and scratch your head in utter confusion. In that case, this article is for you.
Registered Nurse (RN)
A registered nurse or RN is the most common nursing type in the healthcare system. They are the first healthcare professional patients see regarding treatment plans, medication administration, or other vital caregiving requirements to feel better. Today, there are millions of registered nurses working across thousands of medical facilities in the USA. You will find them across various departments such as psychiatry or infectious disease control. However, in terms of qualifications and training, all registered nurses have numerous things in common. An RN needs to clear the NCLEX-RN examination, which tests nursing candidates on various questions regarding their thinking skills and expertise. Only those who hold an accredited bachelor’s in nursing degree can apply for such a certification. According to the BLS, a registered nurse’s salary can range from 48,690 dollars to 104,100 dollars per year on average.
The job of a nurse practitioner is in high-demands these days wherever you go. They specialize in a specific area of medicine, just like a CNS (Clinical nursing specialist). However, the difference is that NPs’ roles and duties are vast. They have the authority to suggest treatment plans, diagnose patients, and can sometimes even conduct clinical research. In most USA states, nurse practitioners have full control, which means they have the same expertise as doctors.
To become a nurse practitioner, individuals will require a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by a master’s or other extensive further education in healthcare, but that can vary from facility to facility. However, according to the BLS, nurse practitioner salaries can range anywhere from 50,000 dollars to 115,800 dollars per year on average.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists are rigorously trained and highly educated nurses, and they specialize in a specific medicine or treatment area. These areas can range from intensive care units to emergency rooms for particular diseases such as diabetes or cancer, and many more. In simple words, if there is a department of healthcare that requires a specific skill set, there will likely be a clinical nurse specialist present in it.
To work as a CN, candidates must first earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by completing a master’s or doctoral program in the same field. Furthermore, they will also require specialization in their area of interests, for instance, pediatrics, if they wish to work in child healthcare. According to the BLS, a clinical nurse specialist can earn around 77,460 dollars per year on average.
Certified Nursing Assistant
The role of a CNA is just like what it sounds. A certified nursing assistant helps registered nurses and licensed practical nurses with a hospital or clinic’s daily routine and tasks. They respond to a patient’s immediate needs, including looking after their hygiene, reporting changes in their medical condition as well as bringing them food. You can think of a certified nursing assistant as a bridge between a patient and a healthcare professional.
However, certified nursing assistants are not allowed to perform intensive care duties. They cannot suggest treatment plans or administer any medication, for that matter. Individuals can earn a certified nursing assistant degree through a vocational school or a community college.
Nursing assistants don’t get much of the glory. However, they are the unsung heroes of the nursing world. While their tasks are less complicated than a typical nurse, they add value to any hospital or clinic and give their best wherever they work. Their average salary is around 29,580 dollars per year.
A geriatric nurse’s primary focus is on the aging population. They cater to the physical and mental needs of the elderly and assist them in maintaining their independence and activity levels. Their duties include feeding, bathing, and connecting elderly individuals with treatment resources, which they acquire themselves. They build a comfortable living environment for the elderly to promote physical and mental wellbeing and help them live their lives safely and with dignity.
The next question in your mind would be how to become a geriatric nurse. Well, you first have to acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by further education in geriatric nursing and a practicing license. If you work as a registered nurse already, there is no need for an advanced degree. As per BLS, the average salary of geriatric nurses is around 70,521 dollars per year.
As you can see from the information mentioned above, there are tons of nursing types in the healthcare field than you can fathom. Within every other type are various subdivisions trained to handle every kind of infection, disease, or medical condition known to man. If you are preparing to dive headfirst into the nursing world, consider every nursing type’s role before taking the leap and following a career path related to your career goals.