Nurses play a crucial role in our health care system. Not only do they tend to the sick or injured, but they also work in various medical facilities ranging from hospital emergency rooms to nursing homes and beyond. Some even spend their careers training students how to become nurses. Just as there are many different types of nurses, there are also many different types of nursing degrees. An individual who wants to become a nurse should research the options available to him or her and choose the path that most closely aligns to his or her goals, finances, and time horizon.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is a certificate that is earned after an average of seventy-two hours of training. It allows aides to work helping nurses in their daily work. A CNA may help a nurse with cleaning, filing, or basic equipment handling, and in hospitals may help schedule treatments and make patient beds. She or he rarely interacts directly with patients or handles any body fluids like urine samples or blood.
Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN), also known as licensed practical nursing (LPN), is a one-year certification program that is usually offered by a vocational institute or community college. LVN programs are usually a convenient option for students who work or have other obligations. And since these kinds of programs are fast-paced, students learn the basic skills to prepare them for their first nursing job.
In particular, an LPN program will allow you to take vital signs, prepare and perform injections, gather health information, supervise nurse’s aides, help care for babies, and assist patients with hygiene and feeding. LPNs works under the supervision of registered nurses and their duties are usually limited by individual state-laws.
Associates of Science In Nursing (ASN)
The Associate of Science in Nursing—ASN—is a 2 year program that will prepare you for an entry-level position as a nurse in a hospital or any other medical facility. Just like an LVN, an ASN program is also offered by a vocational technical Institute or community college. It allows students to learn skills such as emergency care, intravenous drug administration, patient assessment and most of the basic duties performed by a nurse. Not only is this degree one of the quickest approaches to becoming a nurse, but it is also the minimum requirement of becoming a registered nurse.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a 4 year degree program that will provide you with all of the most desirable skills employers look for in nurses. Bachelor’s degrees basically give students extensive experience in both the theory and practice of patient care, and graduates are often eligible to commence work immediately in private medical offices or hospitals. BSN holders usually work in supervisory positions as Registered Nurses (RNs) and can perform work at all levels of nursing positions. Of all the nursing specialists, registered nurses have the greatest amount of direct-patient care.
An RN to BSN degree program is particularly designed for registered nurses who want to further their studies into bachelor’s degree with a very flexible-study-schedule. Rather than going through an entire BSN curriculum from the beginning, registered nurses can save time and money going this route.
This two year program provides credit for nursing skills already learned through school or work-experience. Many institutions that offer RN to BSN degree programs have multiple start dates throughout the year, rather than starting the program in September, and online RN-to-BSN degree programs are available as well.
Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN)
The Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) often requires a bachelor’s degree certificate. An MSN offers a wide-range of nursing specialization focusing on research & advanced-clinical skills.
As an MSN, you can major in Nursing Administration, Nursing Informatics, Community health nursing, Adult health, Family health nursing and psychiatric nursing. Nurses who pursue MSN tend to be promoted to teaching positions or management positions. As an MSN candidate, you will be required to have some experience working in the field. This program will take 18 to 24 months to complete.
Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)
This 4 to 6 years program is the highest degree program you can earn in the nursing profession. It involves in-depth research and advanced clinical-practice where the focus is the clinical & administration and management aspects-of-nursing. This will also include leadership skills, research, leadership skills, as well as courses in nursing philosophy and science.
Nursing is a diverse profession, and the people working in it can come from a wide-range of educational backgrounds. Whereas entry-level nursing careers will only require a certificate or associate’s degree, the more advanced work will require you to hold a bachelor’s, masters or even graduate degree.