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LPN? RN to BSN? RN to MSN?

Choosing a Nursing Career

Written by NS StaffJuly 21, 2011
Nursing

Deciding to become a nurse is just the first step. Once you have made that decision you must then decide what kind of nurse you would like to be- an LPN, RN, or BSN. Each of these types is distinctly different in terms of career options, responsibilities, and required education. Once you have decided on a nursing profession you can select a nursing school. To help you understand what each of these entails, here are some basic descriptions of each.

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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
This position requires one to two years of training in areas like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and practical patient care. As an LPN you are usually required to pass a state or national board exam and have to periodically renew your license.

Practice limitations involve simple procedures under direct supervision of a doctor or supervising nurse. Common tasks include administering meds, dressing wounds, checking blood pressure, monitoring heart rate, taking temperature, collecting samples, and recording procedures. The median income for this nursing profession is $40,000/year.

Programs to Consider:

Registered Nurse (RN)
This nursing profession requires a two year program that cumulates with an Associates of Science in Nursing (AND) degree. Another option is to receive a hospital diploma through a three year course of study or a four year Bachelor's degree in nursing.

Practice limitations are oriented around the supervision of LPN's, and RN's are responsible for the overall safety and care of the patients. There is a wide array of nursing professions for RN's; they can work for insurance companies, attorneys, schools, surgical centers, and they can be independent medical consultants. The median income for this career is $63,000/year.

Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN)
This nursing profession involves a four year program focused on the science and principles of nursing.

Practice limitations are similar to those of an RN. BSN's are often in supervision of other nurses and deal with patient care. They have a more direct and independent role in administering meds and IV's, and often assist physicians in complex surgical procedures. The average income for this nursing profession is $58,000/year.

See a list of schools/colleges offering nursing programs