Did you know there are over four million registered nurses in the US alone? That far outstrips the one million physicians licensed in the country. It’s unsurprising that nurses are considered the backbone to the healthcare system. We’ll be covering the different types of nurses, why so many can be found in hospitals, and the right medical equipment like workstation on wheels to aid them in their many duties as well as prevent burnout. 

Types of Nurses

Most people think of nurses as one large group like doctors. But unlike medical doctors, who all went to and graduated from medical school, there are different tiers or types of nurses.   

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) 

CNs provide basic and routine care to patients under the supervision of a RN, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) like a Nurse Practitioner, or a medical doctor. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) may sometimes supervise CNAs as well. 

CNA responsibilities include: 

  • Monitoring vital signs 
  • Bathing and dressing patients 
  • Assisting patients with their repositioning and walking
  • Gathering bedside supplies
  • Assisting providers with medical procedures 
  • Answering patient calls

A Certified Nursing Assistant or Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) takes a state-approved program to learn basic patient care skills. They must then take and pass the CNA certification exam. 

There are approximately 1.5 million CNAs employed in the US.

Licensed Vocational Nurse / Licensed Practical Nurse (LVN/LPN)

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), provide basic and routine care to patients under under the supervision of a RN, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) like a Nurse Practitioner, or a physician. Their care includes:

  • Chart vital signs and look for signs that health is deteriorating or improving
  • Give oral medications after additional training
  • Perform basic nursing functions such as changing bandages and wound dressings
  • Ensure patients are comfortable, well-fed, and hydrated

Becoming an LPN requires completing an accredited practical nursing certificate program, which is usually offered at community colleges and takes about a year to complete. They must then take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). 

Around 950,000 LVNs can be found working across the United States. 

Registered Nurse (RN)

A registered nurse (RN) is the most common type of nurse with over four million in the US alone. Because of that fact, they have the most varied duties and responsibilities among the nursing profession which is a big draw for job seekers

  • Perform physical exams and health histories
  • Provide health promotion, counseling, and education
  • Administer medications and other personalized interventions
  • Coordinate care
  • Assist in diagnostic testing and record findings in a medical computer
  • Provide emotional support and health education to patients and their families
  • Supervise CNAs and LPNs

To become an RN, the student must first graduate from a nursing program with either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). They must then take and pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) licensing exam. 

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

RNs who secure at least a Master’s degree in nursing can access unique specialties as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). 

A nurse practitioner (NP) is one of these specialties. Besides having all the duties and responsibilities of an RN, they are trained and allowed to perform medical functions normally done by physicians, namely: 

  • Prescribe medication 
  • Examine patients 
  • Order diagnostic tests 
  • Diagnose illnesses 
  • Provide treatment  

Physicians may or may not supervise NPs. That depends on the state. Approximately 320,000 NPs are practicing in the country. 

Other APRNs include nurse midwife (6,300), certified registered nurse anesthetist (56,000), and clinical nurse specialist (8,000).

Nurses in the Hospital

While nurses of all types can be found in a variety of settings, the vast majority are employed in hospitals. This is especially true with RNs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are: 

  • 1.75 million working in hospitals
  • 199,130 in physicians’ offices
  • 173,790 in home healthcare services
  • 131,320 in skilled nursing facilities
  • 147,720 in outpatient care centers

Some hospital RNs and their more common duties include: 

RNs working in the pediatric intensive care unit familiar with childhood illnesses and surgeries and know how to work with kids and their families.

Cardiovascular RNs are knowledgeable about the human heart and circulatory system. They are trained to care for people who have had heart surgery, who are recovering from heart attacks in the cardiology department, or who need procedures to maintain proper heart function. 

RNs for the operating room have a variety of duties and responsibilities ranging from prepping patients for procedures, caring for them while under anesthesia, to notify family members when the patient wakes up post-op. 

Newborns who are premature or those who have become ill are placed in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU). RNs working there are specially trained to monitor for changes in the health of these babies. 

Intensive care unit nurses work with patients who are critically injured or ill. They are knowledgeable about all types of patients and their body systems, and are trained to notice any small change in patient condition. 

Closing Comment

The largest profession in healthcare, nursing is made up of many different kinds of workers from the CNA, APRN, to the RN, which makes up the largest type at over four million strong in the US today.  

So if your healthcare group is interested in the best computers to aid nurses in your hospitals, contact a representative from Cybernet. 

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