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Starting a Career as a Nurse: The Hierarchy You Should Know

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Before you enter the world of nursing, you might not realize that it is not just a profession with a single level, but rather a vocation that provides a staged career path with plenty of opportunities for progression.

Here is a look at the kinds of qualifications you need to achieve advancement as a nurse, outlining the route from junior to senior roles.

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Certified Nursing Assistant

Often seen as an entry point to nursing, becoming a CNA will allow you to fulfill various roles in the context of patient care and even medical dispensing in certain states.

To qualify as a CNA can take as little as three weeks, although you will need to achieve a passing mark in a state-endorsed exam to get officially accredited, after which point you can start applying for positions in hospitals, care homes and other medical facilities.

“Nursing is one of the “classic” careers– the careers that everyone understands, and many people consider entering at some point in their life. Most of us have had direct experience with what nurses do; the familiarity of the job can make it seem like any prospective nurses should have plenty of insight about what to expect.” – What Should You Really Expect From A Nursing Career?

Licensed Practical Nurse

The next rung on the nursing ladder is becoming an LPN, which requires that you earn your Practical Nursing Diploma and then take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

With the help of NCLEX review courses, it is possible to enter the exam properly prepared so that you can kick start your career in nursing.

LPNs will be tasked with catering to patients and carrying out procedures in the course of their daily duties. This could include everything from changing dressings on wounds and recording blood pressure readings to dealing with injections and IVs, although again each state has its own rules regarding what LPNs can and cannot do.

Registered Nurse

A more senior role for those with degree-level training in nursing, RNs are not just responsible for caring for patients but can also be involved in the management of nursing teams, often using their training and expertise to oversee the work of LPNs and CNAs.

Either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing can be used as a way to achieve RN status, but again the completion of the NCLEX exam is necessary, on top of any state-specific requirements that may be in place.

Here is a look at the kinds of qualifications you need to achieve advancement as a nurse, outlining the route from junior to senior roles.Click To Tweet

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

At the top of the nursing tree are APRNs who have master’s degrees in their field and are able to operate on their own or in combination with other medical specialists, dealing with diagnosis of patients as well as with their treatment.

There are a number of roles that APRNs can focus on, including midwifery and anesthetics, for example. Whichever route you take, you will need to complete a Master of Science in Nursing course on top of your undergraduate degree, followed by achieving the relevant certification in the area in which you hope to make your specialism.

Renewal of APRN certification can be required after a fixed period has passed, which is entirely in keeping with the seniority and expertise that is expected of people in these roles, as well as a factor that is reflected in the salaries that APRNs can command.

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04/19/2024 12:16 am GMT

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