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Understanding All the Types of Nurses

In today’s world, different types of nurses work in a range of medical settings, treating a variety of different ailments. Some nurses specialize in certain areas of the body, while others offer a more general way of treatment. In fact, they are the first healthcare professionals you encounter whenever you visit any healthcare facility or hospital. To help you understand about this profession, here are some different types of nurses and what each of them is responsible for.

1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

This type of a nurse is defined by the individual’s work ethic and great attention to detail. Rather than to be the main caretaker, a CNA usually works under the guidance and supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) and his/her duties and responsibilities are to assist other nurses. This is because a certified nursing assistant is not yet allowed to perform several procedures because of lack of certifications. However, this type of a nurse has the ability to handle the daily needs of patients. Interested? Learn how to become a CNA here.

2. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

LPNs are not yet registered nurses, but they at least have a year of experience and education under the guidance of a Registered Nurse or doctors and are also registered by the state. They are able to offer complex forms of medicine and to administer injections – something that CNAs are not allowed to do. Additionally, LPNs are more than qualified when it comes to taking a patient’s vital signs and can easily handle all the basic care functions of any nurse.

3. Registered Nurse (RN)

When it comes to education, a registered nurse is more qualified than a licensed practical nurse. In fact, this position is increasingly becoming very popular and requires the individual to undergo training and graduate from a nursing program at a university or college, and successfully pass a national licensing examination. They are highly experienced and knowledgeable in handling direct patient care as well as case management. They are also capable of leading a team of professional nurses, create proper nursing practice standards and specific plans for the patients to assist them improve/maintain their health.

4. Nurse Practitioners (NP)

A NP is simply a Registered Nurse who is more advanced in both credentials and academic. A Nurse Practitioner has successfully obtained an advanced degree in nursing and is therefore able to perform several functions, which other nurses are not qualified to perform. Some of these functions include writing prescriptions, diagnosing diseases, or even performing and administering various medical procedures like lumbar puncture. Because of their advanced qualifications, this type of nurses usually works as private in-home nurses or alone in various health facilities. Additionally, many work at various specialized departments, including Nephrology or Cardiology.

5. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing, commonly known as a BSN is a 4-year degree obtained from a college or university, which offers a nursing profession overview. This degree isn’t enough qualification for a person to provide any nursing care individually. Instead, it is a necessary qualification for further advancement of a career, as it comes with many more possibilities – in addition to in-field nursing duties like teaching, research, and administrative positions. Having this degree means that you are eligible to take the licensing exam.

6. Addiction Nurses

This type of nurses usually works in various substance abuse facilities where they educate patients on health implications/consequences of their addictive behaviors. This may include tobacco, drugs, alcohol, and other substances. These nurses need to fully understand the healthcare and medical aspects of addiction, as well as the social implications such addictions have on their family and friends.

7. Critical Care Nurses

These are the type of nurses working in various intensive care units within a healthcare facility or hospital. Normally, they work in critical care units or emergency rooms and handle issues that are more complex with their patients.

8. Cardiovascular Nurses

They work with patients, particularly who are suffering from different heart problems or those preparing to undergo heart surgery. These specialists usually work in various major hospitals across the world. To become a cardiovascular nurse, you need to understand the inner-workings of surgery and also taking care of people with heart issues.

9. Medical Surgical Nurses

These nurses normally work in a general surgical and medical setting. They work in a healthcare facility/hospital settings and are usually considered typical type of nurses. Their duties and responsibilities include helping educate people and general patient intake.


In conclusion, apart from this comprehensive list of different types of nurses, there are also other types of nurses, such as genetic nurses, gerontological nurses, neonatology nurses, nephrology nurses, rehabilitation nurses and so on.


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