Types of Nursing Careers
The health care industry in the US is experiencing a persistent shortage of nurses which inadvertently poses a threat to the quality of patient care services. While this has opened windows of opportunity for foreign working professionals to apply for jobs in the US, the demand for nurses is still far too great. As such, a nursing career offers job security, job satisfaction, and most importantly, great compensation. The opportunities available in nursing are vast and diverse. Read on and find out more.
A Career as a Registered Nurse
One of the nursing careers that you can tread is the path of a registered nurse (RN). To be a registered nurse, you must have successfully completed a nursing degree at an accredited university or college and you must have passed the national council licensure exam for registered nurses. The test, however, varies depending on the state where you currently reside. Furthermore, some states do not allow their resident nurses to work on a different state, so make sure to check if your nursing license will allow you to extend your services to another state. Currently, registered nurses comprise the largest workforce in the health care industry in the US. Registered nurses are expected to provide expert health care to the patients. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to: assessing the needs of the patient, monitoring taking vital signs, maintaining medical records, administering prescribed medications for patients – the list goes on. In some cases, registered nurses are even in charge of teaching the patient about the basics of disease prevention.
Another noteworthy career in nursing is that of a licensed practical nurse. These types of nurses work under the supervision and direction of a registered nurse or a doctor. As with registered nurses, a licensed practical nurse also performs a variety of health care functions. Licensed practical nurses are commonly characterized as the nurses that extend health care to hospitalized patients. Their common tasks include: checking for vital signs, answering the summons of the patient, providing assistance as needed, sterilizing medical equipment, obtaining samples and subjecting them to laboratory tests – all of which are geared towards providing basic care to the patient. Furthermore, the services of licensed practical nurses are in demand even in private clinics. There, aside from their basic responsibilities, they must also keep track of the patient’s medical records and other related paperwork.
Pursuing a Nursing Career as a Nurse Practitioner
Becoming a nurse practitioner is also one of the options available for those who wish to pursue a nursing career. These professionals are capable of providing an extensive array of health care services, which includes diagnosing a patient’s symptoms so as to facilitate proper treatment and management of the patient’s illness. In line with this, a nurse practitioner can also provide prescriptions. However, the rules and practice regarding such may vary in every state. Also, a nurse practitioner can perform several procedures such as anesthesiology, bone marrow biopsy, midwifery, and lumbar puncture among other clinical responsibilities.
Last but definitely not the least, becoming a nursing aide is another path available as a nursing career. Nursing aides are commonly referred to as nursing assistants. Compared to the previous types of nurses, nursing aides are given menial responsibilities. Despite this, one cannot undermine the role they play in the health care industry. After all, the nursing aide’s forte is nutrition and hygiene. They are in charge of serving meals to patients. Apart from that, nursing aides also keep the rooms clean and free of unwanted bacteria that may cause harm to the patient’s health. Sometimes, they even assist the patients with their bathing and dressing up needs. As such, their overall importance in hospitals cannot be underestimated. Nursing aides are also sometimes tasked to perform some of the duties of the nurse practitioner, especially in instances where the hospitals are understaffed.
Needless to say, despite which nursing path you choose, the weight of the responsibilities remains the same. The fact still stands that you are dealing with fragile human lives. That is precisely why nurses are extensively trained in the academe and tested accordingly. Only those who had proven themselves worthy can have the privilege of being a nurse. Similarly, climbing the nursing career ladder is not easy. It is impossible to be promoted to head nurse overnight. It takes years of experience before that can be attainable. Also, in the process, you will be exposed to other tasks that are not exactly depicted in a nurse’s basic job description such as: setting up work schedules, assigning different duties to staff, and monitoring their performance. Being a head nurse also entails that you will be in charge of an entire hospital wing. There can be no room for errors. Nevertheless, whichever type of nursing career you choose in entirely up to you. You can make your own path; all it takes is for you to get the appropriate nursing education and obtain your nursing license. Plus, there is also the option to further your studies by obtaining a master’s or doctorate degree. That way, you will have the opportunity to work as an instructor, educator, and even as a consultant.