Nurses make up the largest percentage of workers in the healthcare industry. They are skilled professionals who work closely with physicians in providing direct patient care. At a hospital setting, there are usually three different types of nurses- the certified nursing assistant, licensed practical/vocational nurse and the registered nurse. These nurses work together and help each other in order to deliver the best quality of health care to their patients.
Nursing is both a fulfilling and a challenging profession. This is why they need to have the proper education and training to be able to meet the demands of the job. A certified nursing assistant works under the supervision of the registered nurse. They are responsible for helping the patients perform their activities of daily living such as feeding, grooming, bathing and exercise routines. Most of the time, they also monitor vital signs, transport patients and assist in simple medical procedures. In order to practice professionally within their state, certified nursing assistants must pass a state-administered exam for certification. To be eligible for certification, CNAs must finish a CNA training program at an accredited educational center, vocational school or college. Some programs will usually take 3 weeks to a few months to complete. The whole training program includes formal classroom education and a minimum of 16 hours of clinical training. Some of the topics covered include CPR, nutrition, anatomy, infection control, medical terminology and documentation.
Licensed practical/ vocational nurses (LPN/LVN) also work under the direction of the registered nurse and the physician when providing basic beside care to their patients. They perform duties such as giving injections, dressing wounds, taking vital signs, monitoring medication reactions, and collecting samples for laboratory testing. To be able to practice as an LPN, nurses must pass a licensure examination called the NCLEX-PN administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Nurses are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN examination if they have completed a state-approved LPN training program. Most licensed practice nurse programs are offered at vocational schools and community college and it usually takes one year of classroom and clinical training to complete. It includes courses such as anatomy and physiology, basic nursing concepts, nursing processes, medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, pharmacology and nutrition.
Registered nurses have the most challenging responsibilities out of all the three types of nurses. They provide direct patient care and are responsible for providing treatments, educating patients, establishing care plans and nursing interventions, and administering medications. Nurses are required to have a valid RN license in order to practice as a registered nurse in their state. To obtain an RN license, nurses must pass a national licensing examination called the NCLEX-RN. To be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN, nurses must finish an RN training program from an accredited nursing school. Most nursing schools offer two-year Associate’s degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Some topics covered in an RN program include anatomy and physiology, microbiology, medical-surgical nursing, fundamentals of nursing, pediatrics, leadership and management, pharmacology and ethics. Students are also required to fulfill a specified number of hours of clinical rotation.