Understanding the Different Levels of Nursing Credentials

When someone asks what service you provide as a nurse, they could be talking about your specialty and concentration or your rank. Some nurses focus on a particular field of medicine, for example:

  •         Pediatric: These care providers work with the youngest patients.
  •         Geriatric: Usually, they work with the elderly.
  •         Surgical: They are found in the theater and provide care in the operating room.
  •         Emergency nurses conquer the chaos of the ER.
  •         Labor and delivery: They help bring new life into the world.
  •         Neonatal: These nurses provide care for the tiniest children.

Based on the area you choose to specialize in, you can be a:


  1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

So much goes into compassionate patient care. These nurses are at the forefront of providing that care. Their duties range from helping patients who cannot clean and put on clothes themselves to evaluating symptoms and offering comfort together with companionship. If your dream is to assist patients to meet their needs, large and small, training as an assistant could be ideal. The day-to-day activities usually change based on the work environment. LPNs usually supervise nursing assistants. Once you complete your career training, you will gain employment in various entry-level jobs like:

  •         Nursing attendants: They assist patients under the supervision of senior nursing staff by helping them do things like going to the toilet or getting to bed.
  •         Nursing assistant: This job position is found in clinics, residential care facilities, or, generally, hospitals.

  1. Licensed Practical Nurse

These service providers work by evaluating patients’ vitals like checking their heartbeat, wound dressing, planning and managing treatment according to each patient’s needs, conducting interviews, writing down their medical history and administering drugs. Also, LPNs are looked over by registered nurses who have more knowledge in the medical world. Licensed practical nurses can work in different places, including in-office, clinics, and in special cases, visit the patients at home to provide treatment. In hospitals, these nurses are found in Transitional Care Units (TCU), a facility that helps transfer recovered persons to their homes or another level of care. Usually, it will take you about 12 months to complete an LPN education. This program is standard in community colleges, vocational schools, and universities.


  1. Registered Nurse

RNs work as part of the medical care team, with physicians, specialists, surgeons, technicians and assistants in hospitals, prisons, schools and military camps. These practitioners are on the front-line of healthcare, not in the background. Therefore, they work face to face with patients. This highly hands-on profession involves examining patients who come into a hospital by taking their vitals, measurements and health histories. A registered nurse RN will examine a patient’s condition by assessing their symptoms by drawing blood or performing other diagnostic tests. Coupled with their breadth of medical knowledge, RNs apply analytical thinking to make care recommendations to the physician. After diagnosis, the patient is further educated on how they can best manage their condition. Additionally, these nurses provide emotional support to patients and their families, especially when facing a difficult diagnosis or procedure, which is an excellent way to connect with their patients.


  1. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

These care providers can practice without being supervised constantly by another physician. APRNs work collaboratively with doctors without supervision except in a case where they are doing interventional pain management. These nurses must have some qualifications to have the privilege of independent practice:

  •         Their permit.
  •         Certification that they completed an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program.
  •         Current certification in their specified practice area.
  •         Proof of having worked 2080 hours under a physician.

Which career path is suitable for you?

If you are considering a career as a nurse, you must learn more about which type of service you want to provide. Make an effort to understand the degree requirements, the job overview, and salary statistics to realize which one will best suit your personality. Wherever they work and whoever they care for, nurses are a valuable and irreplaceable part of any health care ecosystem: Their work requires intelligence, accuracy and advanced training. Moreover, compassion and attentiveness is a crucial part of this profession. Before making your choice, research different nursing programs to determine the one you are most likely to succeed in.