All About The Different Types of Nurses
There are many different types of nurses that can be found working in the health care industry today, many with specialized training and fields. Nursing is one of the highest demanded professions based on the demographics of the United States turning towards a generation of aging people. Different types of nurses exist in order to fully cover all of the different aspects of nursing and health care, and to provide a complete array of direct patient care. Each type of nurse has differences in education, training and nursing responsibilities.
The Registered Nurse (RN) is one the 10 top occupations in the US and represents the largest section of healthcare. They may be specialized to particular medical areas and directly supervise lower level nurses such as nurse assistants and practical nurses. RN’s provide treatments, run tests, keep records and consult patients and their families directly. They can be found working in hospitals, ERs, ICU’s, health care centers and doctor’s offices. In order to become a registered nurse, a bachelor or associate degree from college is necessary, as well as graduating from a nursing program and passing a licensing exam.
A Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) works directly with the patient under the supervision of a registered nurse. They are also called patient care technicians or home health assistants. They provide hands on care for a variety of daily living tasks for patients in nursing homes, hospitals, schools and health care centers. CNA’s work to provide complete patient care that a RN may be too busy to do. CNA’s need to graduate from a short training program at a college or care facility and then receive on the job certification.
Located between CNA’s and RN’s are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). They provide basic nursing skills and patient care, all while helping with daily activities. LPN’s main focus is on patient care. LPN’s are required to graduate from a training program and pass a state licensing exam.
An Occupational Health Nurse, or in some states they are referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN), manage health care for different work environments. They are responsible for work health care, health programs, reports, counseling and risk analysis of workplace health. They require a bachelors or associates degree and must pass a national licensing exam.
Registered nurses will often receive special training in particular medical fields in order to obtain a higher level of care management and responsibilities. Examples of this are Nurse Midwives. They receive extra certification from the American College of Nurse Midwives on top of a bachelors in nursing to allow them to treat pregnant women and babies. Often these nurses will handle the entire process of pregnancy, delivery and the post delivery care of babies. Another specially trained version of a RN is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). These RN’s have specialized training in anesthetics. They handle the anesthetic needs of patients before, during and after surgery. Added to a bachelor of nursing and 3 additional years of training, CRNA’s are required to be certified by the Council of Certification of Nurse Anesthetists. RN’s with enough training to perform all of the duties of doctors are called Nurse Practitioners. They perform all nursing duties plus diagnose and treat patients. Some nurse practitioners can write prescriptions. These nurses must acquire a masters degree in registered nursing and be certified nationally.
Public health Nurses (PHN) specialize in community based health care and can perform all RN responsibilities in a community based environment. They handle public health concerns, assist and give information to community planners and educate patients directly. These nurses may also be specialists in specific fields. PHN’s require a bachelors or associates degree, graduate from an approved nursing program, pass a national licensing exam, and receive extra training on community health.
Finally there are Home Health Nurses (HHN). These nurses have graduated from a certified nurse’s or nursing assistant program and provide nursing care at the patient’s home. They can help perform daily tasks, administer medications and even travel with patients. They provide care directly to patients on a daily basis.
There are many different types of nurses to perform patient care on all levels of medical needs. From the bottom to the top, nurses provide care, expertise and help to patients.