Nursing Professions Career Video: CNA, RN, LPN, LVN, CRNA, CNS, NP, CNM, RPN

Nursing Professions Career Video: CNA, RN, LPN, LVN, CRNA, CNS, NP, CNM, RPN Transcript

Thinking of becoming a nurse? There are many options in the nursing field, depending on the level of education you plan for, what kind of certification you will pursue and if you decide to choose a nursing specialty. Some options include certified nursing assistant (CNA), nursing assistants-registered (NA/Rs), licensed practical nurse (LPN), licensed vocational nurse (LVN), registered nurse (RN), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse midwife (CNM) and registered professional nurse (RPN).


Nursing is a career filled with many options. Training programs range from two-week nursing assistant programs to university doctoral programs - and there are many specialties available in between.


Nurses care for sick and injured people. Caring for patients includes everything from bedside help with bathing and moving patients, giving medications, making and following patient treatment plans, assisting doctors with procedures, clinical research, nursing management and direct patient care. It takes several levels of nursing professionals and aides to accurately care for all aspects of patients needs.

Job Skills and Duties

Women and men who go into the nursing field need to be caring and sympathetic people. It helps to be detail-oriented, organized and able to stay calm under stress. Nurses and assistants also need to be in good physical condition because they often need to lift patients and spend a lot of time on their feet.

Certified nurse assistants, also called nursing assistants-registered, work under the supervision of licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. They assist nurses by providing basic patient care, such as moving patients, feeding, bathing, diapering and other bedside care.

Licensed practical nurses, known as licensed vocational nurses in California and Texas, work under the supervision of a registered nurse or a physician. Generally, LPNs and LVNs can give medications, provide wound care, measure vital signs, maintain patient records and collect samples for lab testing.

Registered nurses evaluate patient condition -- monitoring vital signs and recording and reporting symptoms as well as patient progress. They may also draw blood, give medications, start intravenous fluids, develop patient care plans, and assist with surgeries. RNs are patient advocates. They help keep patients and their families well-informed and instruct them in caring for patients after discharge. RN's may focus on treating one type of patient, such as children, the elderly, emergency room patients, or psychiatric patients.

Advanced practice registered nurses have completed additional graduate level training in one of four advanced specialties. These include certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and nurse practitioner (NP). Nurse practitioners are the most advanced nurses and are allowed to write prescriptions, diagnose and treat many patients and can sometimes be primary care providers.

Training Required

All U.S. states require nurses and nursing assistants to complete training programs and pass state examinations to be licensed. CNA and NA/R training programs, which include 120 hours of instruction and 16 hours of supervised clinical training, are offered through nursing homes, the Red Cross and community colleges. LPN and LVN programs include one to two years of training at a vocational school or community college. RNs must graduate from a state-approved school of nursing with either hospital-based diploma, an Associate degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. APRNs need a master's or doctoral degree in Nursing and additional certification exams.


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