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Have you ever considered a career in nursing but felt intimidated by the complex interactions between education, training, and certification in this field? We are here to help.
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Aspiring nurses can use this guide to research the different levels, roles and specialties available to nurses, as well as educational and training requirements.
Pdf) Rn Bsn Programs: Associate Degree And Diploma Nurses’ Perceptions Of The Benefits And Barriers To Returning To School
For healthcare facilities to function effectively, each level of nursing requires different patient care responsibilities. Nurses begin their careers by obtaining a nursing degree and perform basic patient care tasks, allowing them to gain clinical experience. Responsibilities may include designing and implementing treatment plans, administering medications, and recording vital signs. Entry-level nursing jobs include nurse practitioners or nurse practitioners.
Finally, after gaining hundreds of hours of clinical experience and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, they can work as registered nurses (RNs). Many RNs go on to obtain additional experience, including a master’s degree, and become registered nurse practitioners (APRNs).
Once a nurse has attained advanced degrees, they can perform specific roles in the nursing field or continue their education to pursue careers in education, management, or policy.
Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNAs) are not nurses. Rather, they are specialists who assist nurses by providing basic patient care, such as moving beds, feeding and changing clothes.
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CNA certification does not require a college degree. Instead, aspiring CNAs must complete a 3-8 week CNA program, which includes 75 hours of clinical experience. Candidates then apply to their state government for CNA testing and certification.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), have more advanced care responsibilities than CNAs, such as administering medications and taking patients’ vital signs. They interact daily with doctors and nurses, often working in hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.
This position requires 500-750 clinical hours completed through a state-approved program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) through the National Council of Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
Registered nurses (RNs) maintain a high standard of patient care by performing health assessments, counseling, and providing treatment for a variety of conditions. They usually work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing facilities. In some states, they must work under the supervision of an APRN or physician.
Is An Associate Degree In Nursing Worth It?
RNs require at least an associate degree in nursing (ADN), although some employers prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Clinical hour requirements vary by state, but most RNs complete 200-400 clinical hours. They must then take the NCLEX-RN exam to qualify for licensure.
APRNs have more responsibilities than RNs, often working independently and developing treatment plans. They often see more patients in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care facilities.
Becoming an APRN requires a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) and 500 clinical hours, as well as passing an exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The specific test depends on the training, which may include one of the following:
The lowest degree, an associate degree in nursing, can take four weeks to complete and prepares graduates for entry-level RN training. Meanwhile, an MSN typically takes two years to earn longer than it takes to earn a BS. A master’s degree offers more opportunities for higher paying jobs than a nursing degree.
Nursing Careers: What Can You Do With A Bsn?
The “best” type of nursing degree is one that fits your educational needs and meets your professional and personal goals.
Nursing degrees usually take less than a year to complete, but some offer periods as short as a few weeks. Most nursing diploma programs include less than 100 hours of clinical experience. Certification prepares the candidate to be employed as a CNA or LPN/LVN, performing basic nursing duties and acting as a bridge between patients and nurses. Nurses at this level typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, or nursing homes.
The ADN takes at least two years to complete and requires students to complete approximately 300 hours of clinical experience. This degree provides the minimum education necessary to work as an RN in hospitals, clinics and schools. An associate’s degree qualifies people to assume greater responsibilities in patient care than a diploma.
A BSN takes about four years to complete, although some programs allow students to complete their degree at a faster pace of two years. Programs typically require 300-400 clinical hours. Having a BSN is a competitive advantage when looking for a job as an RN, especially in a job market where many employers prefer people with four-year degrees. Nurses with a BSN typically work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and health care facilities.
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MSN usually takes at least two years to complete. As part of the MSN program, students complete at least 500 hours of clinical experience. The MSN prepares graduates to work as an APRN, which includes specialty roles such as nurse practitioner (NP) or certified midwife (CNM). Masters-level nurses are typically employed in hospitals, medical offices, or specialty settings. In some states, they can open private practices.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) takes 3-6 years and 1,000 clinical hours to complete. This degree qualifies graduates to work as APRNs, professors or nurses. DNPs typically work in hospitals, clinics, or in their own private practice, but they can also work as educators and researchers in higher education and health policy organizations.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) takes 3-6 years to complete. As part of this degree, students also complete 1,000 clinical hours. These nurses work as educators, researchers, and policy makers. A nurse with a doctorate degree can often find specialized work at colleges, universities and health care facilities.
Professionals can use a nursing certificate to pursue a specialized and patient-centered nursing career. Most nursing certifications are for the APRN, but some certifications only require a BSN or RN license.
Adn Vs. Bsn Programs: What’s The Difference?
The HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board (HANCB) certifies RNs who provide physical and emotional care to patients with HIV/AIDS. The certificate covers basics such as laboratory testing, disease prevention, and the HIV life cycle.
RNs who work in the care of patients with HIV/AIDS can pursue AACRN certification, which is offered by the HANCB. This certificate focuses on emotional and spiritual support for patients with HIV/AIDS.
The CDN credential certifies RNs with 2,000 hours of clinical experience in nephrology nursing (kidney care), primarily caring for dialysis patients. The CDN exam has 150 questions.
The CHPCA is a certification for nurses in hospice or palliative care management roles. However, this certification is currently only available through recertification, which means that new nurses cannot get certified.
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Aspiring nurses often seek this recognition. Certifies the holder to perform basic patient care functions in a wide range of health care settings.
The CNE certificate is for doctoral students in nursing who wish to teach nursing at colleges or universities. Nurses with the CNE designation have skills in curriculum development, teaching, and counseling in addition to general nursing skills.
CNL certification for clinical APRNs demonstrates skills in quality improvement, risk assessment, and care coordination. CNL-certified nurses use their leadership skills to champion quality improvement in health care.
The CENP, sometimes called the chief nursing officer (CNO) certificate, is a credential available to APRNs with extensive experience in senior management roles.
Students Graduate From The Associate Degree Nursing Program
CRNA certification provides credentials for APRNs who provide anesthesia to surgical, obstetric, or trauma patients.
The OCN designation certifies RNs to provide care and counseling to cancer patients. Certification requires RNs to accumulate 1,000 clinical hours in oncology.
Nurses often choose a population or health field, such as a maternity ward or a hospice. Finding a focus in your nursing career can lead to higher wages and more job offers, especially if you earn a related certification. The following list shows some of the more common types of nursing professions practiced, although it is not exhaustive.
Aspiring RNs can take several paths to entry into the profession. They can transition directly from getting their ADN to sitting for the RN exam, or they can transition to online, hybrid, and on-campus BA programs. Many students take the traditional route, simply completing a BSN program in preparation for exams and certifications.
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Some students can work as CNAs, which allows them to gain on-the-job experience. They can later apply for a CNA-to-BSN program to prepare for a more advanced certification.
All RNs and above must take the NCLEX-RN exam at some point in their nursing journey. The NCLEX is the comprehensive exam required to obtain RN certification. The NCSBN administers the exam through each state’s board of nursing, which may also have its own residency requirements to take the exam.
APRNs can perform many different roles within nursing, often with advanced salary prospects. Common specialty occupations available for APRNs are nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse practitioner (CNS), certified practical nurse (CNM), and certified practical nurse (CRNA). All of these jobs offer high salaries and career opportunities.
Licensing requirements for each of the following roles vary by state, and only some states maintain affiliation agreements.
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