The world of nursing has many different jobs and titles, which newcomers may find confusing. If you are considering a career in nursing, you should understand the different types of nursing in order to choose the best path of study. Some types of nurses, such as a nurse practitioner or a certified nurse midwife, require additional training. However, with basic training, you can become a registered nurse. Remember, too, that nurses can also specialize in different fields, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurses, or RNs, are trained to help patients in their care. They can educate patients and family members about a particular disease and also provide care for the patients. They also administer medicines. RNs may provide a more supervisory role, and the job requires more education than a licensed practical nurse.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
Licensed practical nurses, also called licensed vocational nurses, often provide more direct care to patients than RNs. They have slightly less training than RNs, but can still administer medication and take care of patients' basic medical concerns.
American Nurses Association (ANA)
The American Nurses Association is the professional organization that oversees nurses. The organization helps to promote nurses' rights.
Nurse practitioner (NP)
A nurse practitioner has at least a master's degree and has received additional training in dealing with disease diagnosis. Nurse practitioners may work closely with doctors in a practice and can see patients and prescribe medicine.
Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
A certified nurse midwife has special training to take care of women's health, particularly as it relates to pregnancy and childbirth. They must study in an accredited program and receive certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Nurse anesthetists (CRNA)
Certified registered nurse anesthetists have received special training that allows them to administer anesthesia to patients. They may work with surgeons, doctors or dentists.