If you are contemplating a career in nursing, you may encounter a host of acronyms like LPN, RN or BSN when you try do some research on how to become a nurse. Each of these abbreviations denotes a particular type of nursing degree which you can earn. Each one is a bit different from the others, and each one has a specific set of requirements regarding the kind of education you need to acquire. Each of these degrees can later on affect the nursing fields in which you can practice, your eventual income, and your opportunities in professional advancement.
This stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. Typically, your educational requirements include a year or two of study in areas such as practical patient care, pharmacology, physiology, and anatomy. An LPN is required to pass a board exam (national or state) in order to gain a license to practice, and this license must be renewed periodically. As an LPN, you stand to earn a median average of about $40,000 a year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a licensed practical nurse, you are allowed to perform basic medical procedures as long as you are directly supervised by either a doctor or a registered nurse. Among your typical tasks include administering medications (although you’re not allowed to do an IV), measuring the temperature, heart rate and blood pressure of a patient, obtaining samples, dressing wounds, and maintaining patient records.
This stands for Registered Nurse. There’s more than one way to get an RN degree and the most popular route is to go through a two-year program that ends with you earning an Associate of Science in Nursing degree. You can also be an RN by enrolling in a hospital diploma program that involves a three-year course of study, or by earning a four-year Bachelor’s in Nursing degree. The median salary of RNs hovers at around $64,000 a year.
As an RN, you are responsible for the overall care and well-being of patients. This often includes supervising the work of the LPN. You have a greater number of career options as an RN compared to an LPN.
This stands for Bachelor of Nursing degree. You have to go through a four-year course which usually focuses on the principles and sciences of nursing. Generally, your income when you earn a BSN is the same as that of the RN’s. Even your work is somewhat the same as an RN’s, although you can assist doctors during serious surgeries and you don’t need as much supervision when you administer IVs and medications.
There are factors you need to consider before deciding which type of nurse you want to become. Of course, you should consider your earning potential; but more importantly, you also need to take a closer look at your personality and interests to help you decide which career path to choose.