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Have you ever considered a career in nursing but felt intimidated by the complex relationships between education, training, and certification in the field? We are here to help.
Nurse Master Degree
Aspiring nurses can use this guide to research the different levels, roles and specialties available for nurses, along with education and training requirements.
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For nursing facilities to function properly, each level of nurse must handle different responsibilities for patient care. Nurses begin their careers by earning nursing degrees and performing basic patient care tasks, allowing them to gain clinical experience. Responsibilities may include designing and implementing treatment plans, administering medications, and recording vital signs. Entry-level nursing roles include Nursing Assistants or Practical/Vocational Nurses.
Finally, after earning hundreds of hours of clinical experience and associate’s or bachelor’s degrees from accredited schools, they can work as registered nurses (RNs). Many RNs go on to gain even more experience along with master’s degrees and become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
Once a nurse reaches the highest level, she can perform specific nursing roles or continue her education to pursue a career in education, administration, or political advocacy.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are not nurses. Instead, they are professionals who assist nurses by providing basic care to patients such as bed transfers, feeding and changing clothes.
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CNA certification does not require a college degree. Instead, CNA aspirants must complete a 3-8 week CNA program that includes 75 hours of clinical experience. Candidates then apply to their state boards to take the CNA exam and receive certification.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed practical nurses (LVNs), have more high-level care responsibilities than CNAs, such as administering medications and taking patients’ vital signs. They communicate with doctors and nurses on a daily basis, usually working in hospitals, residential facilities and clinics.
This position requires 500-750 clinical hours completed through a state-approved program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
Registered nurses (RNs) maintain a high standard of patient care by performing health assessments, providing consultations, and providing treatment for various illnesses. They usually work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing facilities. In some states, they must work under the supervision of an APRN or physician.
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RNs need at least an associate degree in nursing (ADN), although some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Clinical hour requirements vary by state, but most RNs complete 200-400 clinical hours. They must then take the NCLEX-RN exam to qualify for licensure.
APRNs have more responsibilities than RNs, often working independently and creating treatment plans. They also generally see more patients in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other medical facilities.
Becoming an APRN requires a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and 500 clinical hours, along with passing an exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The specific exam depends on the specialization, which may include one of the following:
The lowest degree level, a nursing degree, can take up to four weeks to complete and prepares graduates for entry-level pre-RN work. Currently, an MSN typically takes two years to earn, in addition to the time it takes to obtain a license. A master’s level education offers more employment options with higher pay rates than a nursing degree.
Best Online Master’s In Nursing (msn) Programs In 2022 23
The “best” type of nursing degree is one that fits your learning needs and meets your professional and personal goals.
Nursing degrees usually take less than a year, and some offer deadlines of just a few weeks. Most nursing diploma programs include less than 100 hours of clinical experience. Earning a degree prepares a candidate to work as a CNA or LPN/LVN, handling basic nursing tasks and serving as a bridge between patients and nurses. Nurses at this level usually work in hospitals, residential care or nursing homes.
An ADN takes at least two years to complete and requires trainees to complete approximately 300 hours of clinical experience. This degree provides the minimum level of education required to work as an RN in hospitals, clinics, and schools. Associate’s degree education qualifies people to handle more responsibilities in patient care than a degree.
A BSN takes about four years to complete, although some programs allow students to complete their degree at an accelerated two-year pace. Programs typically require 300-400 clinical hours. A BSN is a competitive advantage when seeking employment as an RN, especially in a job market where many employers prefer candidates with a four-year degree. Nurses with a BSN typically work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and health clinics.
Master Of Nursing
An MSN takes at least two years to complete. As part of an MSN program, students complete at least 500 hours of clinical experience. An MSN prepares graduates to work as an APRN, which encompasses specialized roles such as nurse practitioner (NP) or certified nurse-midwife (CNM). Master’s level nurses are usually employed in hospitals, doctor’s offices or specialized institutions. In some states, they can open private practices.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree takes 3-6 years and 1,000 clinical hours. This degree qualifies graduates to work as APRNs, teachers or medical researchers. DNPs generally work in hospitals, health clinics, or in their own independent practices, but may also work as educators and researchers in higher education and health policy organizations.
A Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) takes 3-6 years to complete. As part of the degree, students also complete 1,000 clinical hours. These nurses work as educators, researchers, and policy makers. A nurse practitioner at the doctorate level can often find specialized jobs in colleges, universities, and health care policy organizations.
Professionals can use nursing certifications to pursue a career as a specialized and patient-focused nurse. Most nursing certifications are tailored to APRNs, but some certifications only require a BSN or RN license.
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The HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board (HANCB) provides certifications for RNs who provide physical and emotional care to patients with HIV/AIDS. Certification covers basics such as laboratory evaluations, disease prevention, and the HIV life cycle.
RNs working to care for patients with HIV/AIDS can pursue AACRN accreditation, also offered by HANCB. The certification emphasizes emotional and mental support for HIV/AIDS patients.
CDN accreditation certifies RNs who have 2,000 hours of clinical experience in nephrology (kidney care) care, primarily caring for dialysis patients. The CDN exam includes 150 questions.
The CHPCA is a credential for nurses in administrative roles in hospice or palliative care. However, this certification is currently only offered through recertification, which means new nurses cannot earn the credential.
Master Of Science In Nursing (msn Degree)
Aspiring nurse practitioners often pursue this credential. It certifies the carrier to perform basic patient care tasks in most healthcare settings.
The CNE certification is for doctoral students who wish to study nursing at colleges or universities. Nurses with the CNE designation have skills in curriculum design, teaching, and counseling, as well as standard nursing skills.
CNL certification for clinical APRNs demonstrates skills in quality improvement, risk assessment, and care coordination. CNL-accredited nurses use their leadership skills to strive to improve the quality of healthcare.
CENP, sometimes referred to as chief nursing officer (CNO) certification, is a credential available to APRNs with extensive experience in executive management roles.
Master Of Science In Nursing
CRNA certification provides credentials for APRNs who administer anesthesia for patients undergoing surgical, obstetric, or traumatic procedures.
The OCN designation certifies RNs to provide care and counseling to cancer patients. This certification requires the RN to accumulate 1,000 clinical hours in oncology practice.
Nurses often choose a population or health specialty such as obstetrics or hospice care. Finding a focus in your nursing career can lead to higher earnings and more job offers, especially if you earn a related professional certification. The following list represents some of the most common types of nursing specialties pursued, although it is not comprehensive.
Prospective RNs can take several paths to enter the workforce. They can go directly from obtaining DNAs to taking the RN exam, or they can transfer to online, hybrid, and on-campus degree programs. Many students follow the traditional path, simply completing BSN programs in preparation for the exam and certification.
Concurrent Bachelor Of Nursing/master Of Nursing (bn/mn)
Other students may work as CNAs, allowing them to gain on-the-job experience. They can later apply to CNA-to-BSN programs to prepare for more advanced certification.
All RNs and above must take the NCLEX-RN exam at some point in their nursing journey. The NCLEX is a comprehensive exam required to obtain RN certification. The NCSBN administers the exam through each state’s board of nursing, which may also have their own eligibility requirements to take the exam.
APRNs can fill many different roles in healthcare, often with advanced salary prospects. The most common specialty careers available to APRNs are nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA). All these careers offer high salaries and career specialization.
Licensing requirements for each of the following roles vary by state, and only some states maintain reciprocity agreements.
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