Nurses are a huge part of the healthcare field. Lots of people see them as ‘lesser doctors’ but they are much more than that. In many ways, nurses are the backbone of healthcare, performing lots of different tasks. There are different categories of nurses, too, and their exact roles depend on many different factors.
All nurses have to go through years of intense study and practice before they’re able to start working. Yes, even the school nurse you went to when you scraped your knee had to study his or her butt off to qualify for that job.
How do You Become a Nurse?
Are you interested in becoming a nurse? The first step is to complete a nursing degree. Different places have specific requirements for their nurses, so you have to be sure you choose the one that’s right for you and where you plan to work. There are Associate Degrees and Bachelor’s Degrees, but a Bachelor’s is more comprehensive.
Once you’ve finished that, the next step is to take some exams. With these exams passed, you’ll officially be a licensed nurse and be ready to take on the healthcare sector!
There are three major types of nurses:
Licensed Practical Nurses
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are probably the first kind of nurse you think of. They’re like a first line of defense when it comes to your health. They check your vital signs (weight, blood pressure, etc.) change bandages and dressings, and generally ensure that the patient is comfortable and well-fed. These nurses sometimes give medicine, too. Their work is supervised by other medical staff like doctors or registered nurses.
Registered Nurses (RNs) take patient histories, do physical exams, and provide education and counseling. RNs even give medicines, too, and coordinate with other healthcare professionals to give personalized care. Your school nurse is an RN, so you know they do more than just provide basic healthcare.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) have at least Master’s degrees. They assess and diagnose illness and even prescribe medicines. APRNs also help people with chronic illnesses deal with their conditions and are very important to technological developments in healthcare.
APRNs are specialist nurses. Nurse-Midwives provide ob-gyn care, Nurse Practitioners diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists handle the anesthetics patients need when they’re going to undergo surgery.
Where Nurses Work
Chances are, you’ve met a few nurses in your life. They work in schools, in doctor’s offices, and hospitals, but those aren’t the only places they work. You can find nurses in clinics, pharmacies, ambulances, and specialty care facilities like nursing homes. There are even nurses that provide care to people who are very sick and need help in their homes. Some nurses take on short-term contracts in various locations, allowing them to travel the world while providing care. And, of course, there are nurses who educate student nursing students.
This just scratched the surface of what it means to be a nurse. If you decide you want to follow this rewarding career path, we wish you all the best!