Nursing Career Paths
Now that we have laid out all the prerequisites, we can discuss the diverse selection of career options nurses can pursue. This article will cover the CNA, LPN, RN, ADN, and BSN pathways – including the meaning of these acronyms and what nurses can expect along each path.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), working under the supervision of RNs and other senior staff, help keep the healthcare system running smoothly.
CNAs perform many vital duties daily, such as checking a patient’s vitals, cleaning rooms, and acting as a go-between for the patient and other staff. While usually the first step on a nurse’s career path, CNAs are still highly respected for their vital work.
According to Regis College, CNAs can expect to make around to $29,000 each year. Unlike RNs, you do not need a bachelor’s degree to qualify as a CNA – only a high school diploma. CNAs also rank as some of the most satisfied in the nursing profession, according to NurseJournal.org.
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works with RNs to help keep patients as comfortable as possible while under their supervision. LPNs can find work in all healthcare settings. However, many LPNs make their career in rehab facilities, schools, and immunization clinics.
Successful LPNs need to be patient, compassionate, and knowledgeable as they are frequently the first point of contact in a severe health crisis. Licensed Practical Nurses can also specialize in patients with developmental disabilities.
Registered Nurses (RNs) are respected members of the healthcare profession and face many different complicated tasks that need robust training. These tasks include the collection of samples (such as blood) and wound care.
RNs also have to take a broader view than CNAs, accounting for hospital strategy and long-term outcomes for the patient. Due to the nature and complexity of these tasks, RNs need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. RNs must also complete the NCLEX-RN exam to be fully qualified. There are two primary RN pathways we will analyze below.
There are a variety of RN career options. Many starts with an Associate Degree in Nursing. Associate degrees are a step above a high-school diploma but not a bachelor’s degree.
There are a few benefits to an ADN, a key benefit being that it takes less time than a bachelor’s in nursing. ADNs take between 18 and 24 months to finish, meaning you can get to work quickly after completing the program. Clinical topics like community health and informatics would be the main focus of your ADN.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the second main RN career path. Compared to an ADN, a bachelor’s degree in nursing typically takes more time to complete but is usually needed to get into more high-paying fields.
As well as the clinical knowledge taught in an ADN, a bachelor of science in nursing also focuses on developing leadership and research skills. One of the benefits of a BSN is that it opens the doors to many different fields.