Nursing is a profession with many career paths
If you are thinking about nursing school, you might be wondering about the different types of nurses and what kind of training they require. With RNs, CNAs, NPs, and more, the initials and acronyms can get confusing!
To get a better understanding of what nurses do and how to get the necessary training, try this short guide:
Nurses’ aide or nursing assistant (LNA or CNA)
Licensed nursing assistants (LNA) or certified nursing assistants (CNA) are not trained to be full nurses, but their jobs are still vital to the healthcare system. They typically work in nursing homes or long term care facilities. They help the nursing team to take care of patients’ basic needs such as personal hygiene, monitoring vital signs, or feeding patients. The training for nursing assistants is fairly short and can be completed in a matter of months. For more information, try 5 Things to Know About Becoming a CNA.
Patient Care Technician (PCT)
Patient care technicians are similar to nursing assistants, but they get additional training that qualifies them to do higher level clinical tasks such as drawing blood or administering EKGs. The training program for PCTs can be completed in about six months. Like nursing assistants, they tend to work mainly in nursing homes and long term care homes.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Licensed practical nurses are more highly trained than nursing assistants or PCTs. They are trained in more hands-on nursing concepts and practices, including caring for special populations, such as the elderly, newborns, and pregnant patients. They may be responsible for changing wound dressings, collecting specimens, caring for patients with catheters or tracheostomies, or testing a patient’s blood sugar. Training to become an LPN takes about one year.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered nurses must earn at least a 2-year associate’s degree. Some RNs choose to earn a 4-year bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for higher positions. RNs typically work in hospitals and doctors’ offices. They are qualified for higher-level clinical responsibilities, such as administering IV medications or administering blood products. RNs may have nursing assistants reporting to them.
Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Nurse Anesthetists (NA)
Nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists must earn a master’s degree. They are highly qualified nursing professionals who are able to prescribe medication, make diagnoses, create treatment plans, assist patients in managing chronic illnesses. Earning a master’s degree in nursing can take approximately six years or more.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between the various nursing paths you may want to choose.
The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health is a nursing school located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Our schools focuses on just three training programs:
Licensed Nursing Assistant
Patient Care Technician
With just three programs housed all under one roof, the small-school feel of the Salter School of Nursing creates a nurturing atmosphere that encourages learning and achievement.
If you are interested in pursuing any of these programs, reach out to the Salter School of Nursing. We would be honored to have you begin your nursing career with us.