There are a variety of different ranks in nursing. As you attain better education and training, you can enjoy more healthcare job opportunities and greater responsibilities on the whole. That being said, every rank of nurse matters to the continued success of a healthcare facility. In case you need a point of reference, and to give recognition to the HCPs that make facilities successful, this article runs down the various nurse ranks and levels you can expect to run into.
Certified Nursing Assistant
Yearly Compensation: $35,740 per year (per the BLS)
CNAs perform a lot of “basic” and direct care services. Under the supervision of another nurse, they are expected to carry out tasks like cleaning patient quarters, bathing, dressing and feeding patients, and transporting them around the facility. A CNA’s service is vital for the continued health and comfort of a patient, while they stay in a facility. Unlike other roles, you do not need a formal degree to become a CNA. Provided you are a high school graduate, complete an accredited 4-12 week CNA program, and achieve state licensure, you should qualify.
Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse
Yearly Compensation: $54,620 per year (per the BLS)
LPNs (or LVNs, as they are referred to in California and Texas) carry out the direct care duties associated with CNAs. Comparatively, their roles are more focused towards providing much needed medical assistance to their RN supervisors. With approval from said supervisors, they can offer basic care services, provide medications as per physician orders, and update the team on a patient’s status and condition. Becoming an LPN requires a one year diploma in practical nursing that prepares you with lectures and clinical rotations.
Yearly Compensation: $81,220 per year (per the BLS)
RNs have the education and experience needed to offer more advanced care services. They can create tailor made care plans, in cooperation with the rest of their medical team. RNs can also prepare their patients for medical tests. These are just some of the many roles that an RN assumes.
RNs also provide vital education to patients and patient families, regarding said patient’s current condition, status, and treatment options. In general, RNs are in charge of identifying what a patient needs, before providing them with important, holistic medical care.
Becoming an RN requires either a diploma, 2 year Associate’s Degree in Nursing, or a 4 year Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While the first two are quicker, BSN roles offer better compensation opportunities overall and allows you to move into non-clinical nursing roles like case management or administration.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Yearly Compensation: $125,900 per year (per the BLS)
When a nurse obtains their Master of Science in Nursing and or a Doctor of Nursing Practice, they can opt to become APRNs. There are a number of different APRN roles, such as Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nursing Specialist, and more. Their advanced training and education provides them the authority to provide greater care services than even registered nurses.
For example: Nurse Practitioners, NPs can offer a formal diagnosis, lay out preventative care measures, order medical tests and prescribe treatment. Nurse Anesthetists, meanwhile, are specially trained to safely administer anesthetics before procedures, and provide the necessary after care, once the anesthesia wears off. Regular nurses cannot take on any of these responsibilities. As a result, APRNs are significantly better compensated than a lot of their RN counterparts.
Advanced nursing degrees also lend themselves to a number of fascinating non-clinical roles. Nurse administrators or managers are expected to oversee the staffing, budgeting and continued operations of a healthcare facility and its departments. Chief Nursing Officers oversee the operations of the facility as a whole, and have to plan for long term growth with leadership and strategy. Meanwhile, Nurse educators work in universities to train and prepare HCP students for practical clinical work. On the whole, administrative jobs provide better compensation than educational roles, but they are both important to the continued success of the healthcare system.
Go out there!
Like any successful endeavor, nursing is a team effort. It requires a number of different people from various backgrounds and specializations to work together, in order to provide the best possible care. Every nurse rank listed is important to the continued prosperity of the healthcare system. Whether you want to remain as a CNA, or you plan to work your way up towards becoming a nurse administrator, your efforts are appreciated and necessary for the continued success of your facility.
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