For anyone needing medical attention, especially those who have had to stay overnight in a hospital, hearing the word nurse, brings up visions of a woman or man dressed in white or some other color scrubs. The fact of the matter is that there are several different kinds of nurses. The following describes the various types of nurses and how they differ:
Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)
Known for being at the patient's bedside for things like checking vitals, monitoring bodily fluids, changing bedding, transporting patients, serving meals, and documenting those changes, this is probably the least glorifying, yet necessary position in the field of nursing.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Although an LPN handles other responsibilities like administering medications, taking care of wounds, and recording and monitoring changes in the patients progress, they will also take vitals and feed a patient if necessary. An LPN will also give directives to a CNA.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Yet another step up in the nursing field, the vast majority of registered nurses can be found in hospitals, emergency rooms, or situations where medications have to be administered. They are also responsible for both a CNA and an LPN.
Advance Practice Nurses (APN)
This position is that of an advanced RN who decides to take their career one step further. Their responsibilities range from patient examinations, assessments, evaluations, and making medical decisions about the future of the patient.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
An NP is also an RN with advanced knowledge of medical procedures. A nurse practitioner can usually handle many of the same duties that a doctor can and, if you look closely, you will probably see them wearing a white coat.
Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
This nurse hardly ever has to deal directly with patients, although they are extremely interested in the care they are receiving. A CNL will observe and evaluate the care that the patient is receiving and make changes if necessary.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Anyone bumping into a CNS probably did so as a specialist. This position is that of an NP in an advanced capacity. A CNS might be found during consultation, coaching, or researching situations.
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
A CNM specializes in bringing babies into the world, conducting physical examinations, and counseling expectant mothers with medical issues that may be a problem for childbirth.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
A CRNA is usually found in operating rooms across the nation. They are responsible for ensuring that the patient successfully goes anesthesia under for their procedure and returns to consciousness safely after the operation has been completed.
The thing to remember about nurses is that they all play a vital part in the medical field. They may not all do the same thing, but they tend to rely on each other.