My Unique Twist

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Archive for the ‘registered nurse’ Category

What IS a Nurse? Part III: RN

Posted by Sean RN on November 7, 2007

So we’ve reviewed what a CNA is, and an LPN. So now we’ll talk about the Registered Nurse (RN)

An RN is a licensed healthcare professional as well. Individuals interested in becoming an RN will have to enroll in an approved nursing program as well as pass the NCLEX-RN, a national licensing examination. An individual will have to successfully pass the exam as well as pass and complete the approved nursing program to be able to use the letters RN after their name.

The program for RN’s has evolved over the years. Most RN programs mirrored the set-up of LPN programs, except they were hospital based. Since the practice of nursing has evolved, so has the education of nurses. Individuals have options. They can either enroll in a 4yr Bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) college program, or enroll in a hospital-based diploma program. The diploma program (or sometimes called an Associate’s or ADN program) includes college courses. These course are either offered the hospital, or they are jointly offered between the hospital and a local community college. In either case you have to have close to 2yrs of college courses either concurrently or before you can enroll in the diploma program. Then the diploma program is another 2yrs of class work and clinical practice (patient care).

Both the BSN and ADN programs will qualify you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, only with the BSN route you attain a bachelors degree. After all that, and you pass the NCLEX-RN exam you can still advance your education further. Their are RN-BSN, RN-MSN, BSN-MSN programs as well as newly formed Doctorate degrees in nursing.

As stated in my previous posts, an RN’s duties and responsibilities include everything that a CNA, and LPN are responsible for as well as record patients’ medical histories and symptoms, help to perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation, as well as many other duties.

RN’s can specialize in a particular field of nursing. Everything from Critical Care, telemetry, Long-term care, case-work, and a multitude of other arena’s that reach far beyond my explanation.

Here again are some links of interest:

I must mention that even though there are different disciplines within the profession of nursing (RN, LPN, CNA), all of the aforementioned work for the same team. All work with the same goal in mind, taking care of the patient.

The RN is responsible for the holistic care of the patient, as well as supervise the LPN & CNA with all the mentioned duties and responsibilities. The RN is also responsible for patient as well as ancillary personnel education and communication.

All in all the function of the nurse in today’s world is ever-changing and dynamic in nature. A nurse must adapt and react with the ever changing world of healthcare, all the while keeping the same  goal in mind, to take care of our patients.

I hope these post may have shed a little bit of light on what we nurses are and what we nurses do.

As always take care of yourselves and yours.


Posted in 2007, blog, cna, licensed practical nurse, lpn, na, november, nurse, nursing aide, nursing assistant, registered nurse, rn | 3 Comments »

What IS a Nurse? Part II: LPN

Posted by Sean RN on November 7, 2007

So we have reviewed nursing, and the nursing assistant. Now we’ll talk about the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN or  LVN – Licensed Vocational Nurse)

The LPN is a licensed healthcare professional. An individual interested in being an LPN must enroll in a state approved practical nursing program, then successfully pass the NCLEX-PN national licensing examination before they can use the initials LPN after their name.

Most practical nursing programs can vary in length and vary in their curriculum. The average program can last 1 yr. During this program you have classroom instruction and supervise clinical participation (patient care). These programs can be offered by a variety of facilities. I can’t rightfully say if hospital’s sponsor these type of programs, but most vocational schools offer them.

LPN’s responsibilities include all duties of the CNA as well as medication administration including injections, wound care and wound dressings,insert urinary catheters and enemas, as well as other responsibilities. LPN’s duties do vary from state to state. Some states will allow some duties, like administering IV medications, while other states will not. Please research and look up your specific states nursing practice acts for more information.

I don’t need to elaborate on an LPN’s duties because it encompasses everything a CNA is responsible for and more.

LPN’s are equally as crucial in the nursing profession. Their skills are top-of-the-line when it comes to venipunctures and medication injections. They also can be the best listeners and best observers in a patient’s progress to recovery.

Here are some links of interest for LPN:


Stay tuned for the next installment in my What IS a Nurse? Part III: RN

As always take care of yourself and yours.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Posted in 2007, blog, cna, licensed practical nurse, lpn, na, november, nurse, nursing aide, nursing assistant, registered nurse, rn | 1 Comment »

What IS a Nurse?

Posted by Sean RN on November 7, 2007

I thought I’d start my emotional therapy by first explaining that whenever I speak of a ‘nurse’ I am referring to a Registered Nurse. So to not properly define the different types of nurses would be a disservice to all nurses of all types, and I would then fall into the same category that all other members of society fall into, the un-informed.

So what types of nurses are there?

Well in all cases their respective duties and or labels will include nursing responsibilities.

Nursing Aide / Nurse’s Aide /  Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA) / Clinical Aide (CA) / SA / Tech

The term and or label/name all depends on where you are from, and how your facility treats the given occupation. Each label and/or name implies a different set of responsibilities. Some have more than others, but at their core they are still an assistant to the RN or LPN (I’ll get to that later). For simplicity I’ll refer to them as the Aide. Most aides are trained at the facility they are employed. Some can and do get outside training. For instance a CNA is certified. So they actually sit through a course and have to pass an exam at the end to be considered and referred to as a CNA. All Aides assist with the daily care of patients. Everything from ambulation assistance, to meal preparation, toileting assistance, help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). The Aide is the go-to person for all the patient’s basic needs. That is not to say they do not assist with other duties. Some Aides will be cross trained in phlebotomy. Aides can draw blood from Vascular Access Devices (VAD’s), as well as cannulate and draw blood from peripheral IV’s. These duties of course would require additional training. In the end the Aide knows the most about a patient’s mental health and personal well-being because they see the patient more often than any other staff member. They are their through the embarrassing moments as well as the happy moment’s a patient may endure while they are sick.

Aides work in just about every environment you can think of when it comes to the sick. Everywhere from the traditional Hospital, to nursing homes, retirement homes, rehabilitation centers,etc. The list goes on.

In my opinion anyone who has an interest in the field of nursing should shadow and follow an Aide to see what they do, see how they care for the overwhelming load of pt’s they are assigned to care for. As a nursing student, some of my best lessons were taught to me by the nursing aide’s I worked with as a student on the floor. Not do diminish or minimize this field of nursing, but most, not all, RN’s and LPN’s start out as an aide for this very reason. To get a better understanding and learn the tricks of the trade to being a nurse.

As I stated, there is a starting point for most nurse’s aides’ and then they receive additional training from the facility they are employed by. Every facility and every state is different, so please don’t ever assume anything.

Here is a short list of references for anyone that would like to learn more about Nursing Assistants:


Look for my next installment into the field of nursing: What Is a Nurse? Part II: LPN

As always take care of yourselves and yours.

Posted in 2007, blog, cna, licensed practical nurse, lpn, na, november, nurse, nursing aide, nursing assistant, registered nurse, rn | Leave a Comment »