Here are some of the main titles in nursing, each reflecting a different set of educational requirements:
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Director of Nursing (DON)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- Nursing Assistant. (NA)
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
*** NPs are RNs with advanced academic degrees; usually a Master's. They are licensed either through American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or National Certification Corporation (NCC). They provide a wide variety of advanced health services in clinical settings.
*** Director of Nursing (DON) is the title awarded to an experienced RN who moves into a senior administrative position after serving for years in a clinical setting. DONs participate in policy formation and enforce the regulations for nurses in an institutional setting.
*** RNs are nurses with Associate of Science in Nursing degree (ADN) which is usually a two-year college degree. There are Bachelor's and Master's programs for RNs as well. They lead and supervise the work of LPNs and LVNs and keep in daily contact with the patients.
Even though they do not always work one-on-one with the patients, RNs are the ones responsible for their health, recovery and safety. They act as the patience's advocate and are the lynchpin of American health care system.
*** LPNs and LVNs (also called Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) in Ontario, Enrolled Nurses (ENs) in Australia and State Enrolled Nurses (SENs) in the United Kingdom) go through a12 to 24 month training in "in anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and practical patient care." They work one-on-one with patients under the supervision of RNs for a variety of crucial medical tasks that require operational accuracy, sound medical knowledge, and logical decision making.
There are 700,000 LPNs and LVNs in the United States according to U.S. Department of Labor.
*** NAs work under the supervision of an RN and perform such daily tasks as taking a patient's temperature, drawing blood, measuring blood pressure, etc. They assist the RNs, LPNs and LVNs in all kinds of diagnostic tests. They must be high school graduates and go through at least 120 hours of state-certified training in the United States; including 16 hours of supervised clinical training.
*** RMAs assist the physicians and nurses mainly in an administrative capacity. The tasks they perform include keeping the patient files in order, preparing the medical examination rooms and making sure all supplies are in place.