Nursing is a challenging and rewarding career. While nursing isn’t the right occupation for everyone, people with a strong desire to pursue a lucrative and stable career that provides opportunities to help and care for others may find this occupation to be satisfying on personal and professional levels.
Several Types of Nursing Qualifications
The nursing role is rapidly evolving as nurses are tasked with an even wider range of health care responsibilities. There are several ways to become qualified to practice the nursing profession:
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Also known as LPNs or LVNs, licensed practical and vocational nurses are qualified to provide basic nursing care; they work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. Sometimes they are also referred to as nursing assistants. A licensed practical nursing qualification can usually be completed in one or two years. LPNs must pass a licensing exam (the NCLEX-PN) in order to work in their field.
Associate Degree in Nursing
A two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program prepares individuals for a defined technical scope of nursing practice. Set in the framework of general education, the clinical and classroom components prepare ADN nurses for nursing roles that require nursing theory and technical proficiency. Many ADN nurses go on to advanced training and become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
To acquire the RN title, an individual must graduate from a state-approved school of nursing—either a four-year university program, a two-year associate nursing degree program, or a three-year diploma program—and pass a state RN licensing examination called the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The four-year, university Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree provides the nursing theory, sciences, humanities, and behavioral science preparation necessary for the full scope of professional nursing responsibilities, and provides the core knowledge necessary for advanced education in specialized clinical practice, research, or primary health care. Upon graduation, an individual must pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain a license to practice registered nursing and use the RN title. State nursing boards govern licensing requirements, set continuing education or competency requirements, and handle disciplinary actions against RNs. Once an RN, the nurse must practice following the requirements of the nurse practice act in the state in which they function as an RN.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is an umbrella term given to a registered nurse who has met advanced educational and clinical practice requirements, at a minimum of a Master’s level, beyond the basic nursing education and licensing required of all RNs, and who provides at least some level of direct care to patient populations. Under this designation fit the principal types of APRNs, including nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse-midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
Practical Nursing: A Career in Demand
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses work in many settings, including nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and private homes. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for licensed practical nurses is growing by 22 per cent each year, and median pay in 2010 was $40,380.
The Role of the Nurse: Not Just Health Care
Nurses have a challenging job that requires them to fill many roles. According to the International Council of Nurses:
“Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people. Advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles.”
In short, today’s nurses aren’t just caring for the sick – they’re changing our very notion of modern medicine and health care delivery. Nurses are being called on as community leaders, publishing scientific research, improving medical technology and applications, and actively addressing health care policy. Nurses are collaborating with colleagues from a number of fields, whether social workers, scientists, insurance specialists, legal experts, hospital administrators and public safety personnel. As the population grows and our society ages, the nursing field is growing. Along with the demand are expanded opportunities for nurse practitioners, specialized nurses, nurse educators, nurse-anesthetists, and nurse researchers.
How to Excel in Nursing: Understanding and Listening
The best nurses are also culturally wise and socially adept. Hospitals are increasingly diverse, cultural melting-pots where nurses work with people of all races, religions, national origins, linguistic abilities, and gender identities. Doctor time is limited, but nurses deliver hour-to-hour care and interact with the families of patients. Being an effective nurse requires the ability to listen and understand people from all walks of life.
Great nurses take what they have learned in their formal training and apply it to make important, difficult and life-altering decisions every day. With the right skills and knowledge, the next generation of nurses can have a significant impact on patients, communities, and our wellness as a society.
Florida National University Practical Nursing Programs
The purpose of the FNU Practical Nursing Program is to prepare the student for employment as a practical nurse by providing the theoretical knowledge and clinical competence to obtain licensure and the standard of professionalism necessary for the successful practice of nursing. The university awards a certificate upon the successful completion of the program.
The Practical Nursing Certificate Program at FNU requires a minimum of 45 credit hours. The courses required for achievement of the certificate are the following:
- Fundamentals of Practical Nursing – 7.5 credit hours
- Anatomy and Physiology and Medical Terminology – 2 credit hours
- Pharmacology – 3 credit hours
- Growth & Development and Nutrition – 1 credit hour
- Maternity and Newborn Nursing – 3 credit hours
- Pediatric Nursing – 3 credit hours
- Medical-Surgical Nursing I – 8 credit hours
- Medical-Surgical Nursing II – 7 credit hours
- Practical Nursing Communications – 1 credit hour
- Transition to Graduate – 9 credit hours
Your exciting, lucrative and fulfilling nursing career is on the horizon with a Practical Nursing Certificate. Contact FNU’s career advisors today to find out how to get started!