Nursing is one of the most exciting and in-demand jobs in America today. Nurses work to promote health, prevent disease and help patients cope with illness. They are advocates and health educators for patients, families and communities. When providing direct patient care, they observe, assess and record patient symptoms, reactions and progress. Nurses collaborate with physicians in the performance of treatments and examinations, the administration of medications and the provision of direct patient care in convalescence and rehabilitation.
Nurses work in an environment that is constantly changing to provide the best possible care for patients. They are continuously learning about the latest technology and medication as well as considering the evidence that their nursing practice is based upon. Because they will actually spend more face-to-face time with a patient than doctors, nurses must be particularly skilled at interacting with patients, putting them at ease, and assisting them in their recovery. It is often said that physicians cure, and nurses care.
Education, Training and Certification for Nursing Careers
Nursing careers offer a wide variety of roles and a broad scope of responsibility. Licensed practical nurses (LPN), also known in some states as licensed vocation nurses (LVN), complete the least amount of education, with only one year of coursework required after high school. As LPNs/LVNs are not registered nurses, they work under the guidance of an RN. As with any licensed nurse, a state’s board of nursing will dictate the treatments each level of nurse is allowed to perform.
To become a registered nurse (RN), one must complete either a diploma in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). RNs must also pass the nursing licensure exam for registered nurses.
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) are those who have fulfilled the general RN requirements and continue on to study at the master’s level or beyond. APRNs may choose to focus in a particular medical specialty such as pediatrics, obstetrics or oncology. Advanced practice nurses are some of the highest paid nurses, and include clinical registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), clinical nurse specialists (CNS); nurse-midwives (CNM) and nurse practitioners (NP).
Nursing Theory and Process
Nursing practice is the actual provision of nursing care. To achieve this, nurses implement the nursing care plan using the nursing process. This is based upon a specific nursing theory that is selected based on the care setting and population served. According to the American Nurses Association, the nursing process determines how a nurse approaches each patient encounter, and includes five steps: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. The nursing process is the common thread uniting different types of nurses who work in varied areas, and is the essential core of practice for the registered nurse to deliver holistic, patient-focused care.
If you love helping others, have a genuine interest in the medical field and want to work as an integral member of a healthcare team, nursing may be a great career choice for you. With the nationwide nursing shortage and high demand for nurses, now is the perfect time to consider becoming a nurse. There’s a wealth of job and career opportunities at every level and with every type of nursing position.