The field of nursing offers a wide variety of career choices to those interested in working in the medical profession.
Depending on the level of education an individual has acquired and their desire to work in a particular field of nursing care there is a huge spectrum of opportunities available which makes nursing one of the most diverse careers around.
From research to legal counsel and mental health care to emergency room nursing the opportunities and variety of experiences are nearly endless.
Below is a brief description of several different career choices available to those who work in the general nursing field.
Not all job titles below require a registered nursing degree, but those who work in some of these fields such as working as an LPN or nurse aide must at least obtain nursing certification in order to work in these professions.
Nurse aides provide bedside care and basic nursing assistance to patients that are suffering from disabilities, mental illnesses, sickness and a variety of other medical related issues.
Because nurse aides have not acquired the same level of training and education that a registered nurse has obtained they are very limited in the scope of medical treatments and/or care that they are able to provide to their patients.
They are also limited in terms of job flexibility and career choice as most health care organizations that hire nurses look for nurses with a higher level of education such as registered nurses and those who have acquired advanced training and education.
In order to ensure that nurse aides are performing their daily responsibilities effectively and efficiently and to make sure they are providing patients with proper medical care they are generally accompanied by a registered nurse (RN) , licensed practical nurse (LPN) or another licensed health care professional that has obtained adequate training and experience.
LPN/LVN (licensed practical/vocational nurse)
An LPN or licensed practical nurse is a nurse that is trained to give basic health care to individuals who are injured, sick or disabled.
Depending on the state an LPN operates in these nurses may alternatively be referred to as an LVN.
LPN’s perform a number of basic health care tasks such as monitoring their patients condition and keeping medical records, assisting with medications, performing lab tests, assisting patients with disabilities by moving, lifting, dressing, walking, bathing and feeding patients as well as providing assistance with other basic health care needs.
LPN’s may be monitored by a registered nurse or other health care physician as they are often not trained to handle more comprehensive medical tasks.
These nurses can often be found working in nursing homes and clinics where they may be found assisting the same patients with their day-to-day living needs.
Individuals who are interesting in working as an LPN should have a strong desire to help patients who are suffering from an ailment or acute medical condition and should have plenty of patience in dealing with patients who are used to a much slower pace of life which may require not only emotional support but also physical assistance with day-to-day tasks.
Registered nurses provide specialized medical care to sick, injured and disabled patients and may be found operating in hospitals, health care facilities and doctor’s offices as well as in many other types of health care organizations.
Unlike LPN’s registered nurses have acquired significantly more medical training and thus are able to perform more tasks in regards to patient care and medical treatments.
Registered nurses also have a lot more job flexibility and career choices available to them compared when to LPN’s.
These nurses provide emotional support to patients dealing with mental/physical ailments and educate them and their families about their medical condition to help them treat their condition and obtain optimal health.
In terms of job responsibilities registered nurses may record their patients medical condition to keep track of their recovery, perform basic blood work, give medications to sick or injured patients, take part in patient rehabilitation programs and assist doctors, anesthetists and other nurses in the health care facility to provide all around patient care and make sure each patient is receiving the proper medical attention.
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse that has acquired either their MSN or DNP or degree with an educational emphasis in a particular field of health care such as pediatrics, neonatal care, family health care or psychiatric care.
Nurse practitioners are not only able to perform all of the tasks a registered nurse perform, but they are also able to diagnose and treat patients who are suffering from acute illnesses or diseases within the field of specialty without the need or approval for a doctor (in some states).
They can write prescriptions, design rehabilitation programs, perform minor surgeries and act as a primary health care provider or family nurse practitioner for their patients.
They can also open their very own health care clinics.
While a nurse practitioner may choose to specialize in single area of health care some practitioners may choose to study under multiple fields so that they can provide more comprehensive health care become licensed in different areas of health care.
For example a nurse practitioner that has studied neonatal care may be able to perform tasks within his or her field of expertise; however they may not act as a primary health care provider to geriatric patients or those in psychiatric care.
By earning their degree and getting certified and getting certified in other areas of health care they can gain more flexibility in the practice and provide medical care to a wider range of patients.
A nurse anesthetist is a nurse that provides anesthesia to patients who are undergoing treatment and need to be put under some form of anesthesia to assist with the surgery or operation.
Those who work in the field of nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses with plenty of experience in nursing and have a graduate level education with board certification in the field of anesthesia.
Nurse anesthetists may be found working in a number of health care settings including hospitals, clinics, doctor/physician offices, the military and a number of other public and private health care organizations.