At College Admissions Assistance we have lots of students interested in becoming nurses. This is great since it is a growing career in a growing field. Nurses are a vital part of our healthcare system and do lots of good for our communities. However, it can be confusing as a high school student researching all the nursing opportunities to know which is right for you. We recommend you narrow down your options through conversation with your coaching team and your family. To help you get started, here is a short blog about different kinds of nurses, their tasks, and how you get to each job.
Nursing Assistants and Orderlies[i]
This level of nursing requires the least amount of education. Usually programs are found in community colleges, technical schools and even in some high schools. In this job, you will tend to some basic medical needs of patients such as bathing, feeding and helping with functional needs. You may work in a nursing home or in a hospital setting.
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses[ii]
This next step up in the nursing field will have you perform duties like monitor blood pressure, change bandages and other basic patient care. To become an LPN or LVN, you will have to get some education at a technical school/community college and pass a state-approved exam. The educational program will include clinical experience to get you hands-on training. As an LPN or LVN you will make more per hour than a nursing assistant, and this position will enable you to do more technical tasks related to patient care. The specific tasks you are qualified to perform can vary from state-to-state.
To become a registered nurse, you will need a degree from a college. You have the option of earning an associate’s degree from a community college or a bachelor’s degree from a four-year school. We recommend that our students go ahead and earn the bachelor’s degree so that they are not limited in their career options. As a registered nurse, you will be able to perform many more technical tasks for medical care. Usually you are part of a team that works to help patients with their healthcare.
Please note: When researching college options, be sure to look for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The RN to BSN programs are for individuals who are already nurses and are going back to school to earn their bachelor’s degree.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) [iv]
The next step, if you want to continue to move up as a nurse, is to specialize. This can mean earning a master’s degree or even a doctorate in nursing (Doctor of Nursing Practice or PhD). With each step in education, you will specialize more and more so that you are qualified to perform more complex healthcare tasks for patients. Many times nurses continue their schooling while working as a nurse. Sometimes your employer, such as a hospital or healthcare facility, will help pay for the additional schooling.
Hopefully, if you are an aspiring nurse, you are now a little better informed about your options in the nursing field. Be sure to check out the links below for reference and use the career research tools in your CAA account. Coaches are here to help with your research and to assess your specific situation, so contact the coaches for how this info relates to you!