Licensed Practical Nurse
As an LPN, you are tasked with providing basic care to patients. This includes helping them to get dressed, helping them to eat and taking blood pressure and vitals. LPNs also assist doctors and RNs with patient records and official communications.
Nurses in this role have completed an accredited practical nursing certificate program. These one-year programs are available at community colleges. After completing an LPN program, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX-PN exam to get your license.
An RN plays a direct role in patient care, collaborating with doctors and other health professionals to craft the best treatment plans possible for patients. A registered nurse assesses patients’ conditions, administers medication, develops plans of care, and at times orders or performs diagnostic tests. RNs work in a range of medical settings, from nursing homes to schools to major hospitals and small clinics.
To practice as an RN, you need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for a license. Completing a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing, often called a BSN degree, at an accredited school makes you eligible to take the exam. Most undergraduate degree programs in nursing combine classroom coursework with clinical, on-site training.