Nursing Degrees Explained: LPN, LVN, RN, APN, and NP

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a basic nursing degree that forms the foundation for further nursing courses. The course duration is of around one year and includes both theory and practice. An online LPN course trains students for jobs such as daily intake-outtake monitoring, changing dressings, and caring for patients. The requirements for awarding an LPN degree will vary with the state as this is a state-awarded degree.

A Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is on par with the LPN. This program too is a stepping stone for more nursing degrees. Successful training for this one-year program leads to a diploma or a certificate and the student qualifies for the NCLEX-PN examination. Work opportunities exist in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and public schools.

A Registered Nurse (RN) degree is a very respectable one and experienced RNs are always in demand. In order to become a Registered Nurse, you can either take the 4-year BSN course or acquire an ADN. You can also clear a Nursing Diploma Program offered by hospitals. Apart from these there is the NCLEX-RN exam to clear. An advantage with an RN degree is that it is licensed for the country and hence has acceptance in several states. RNs are well suited for nursing jobs that require traveling.

APN stands for Advanced Practicing Nursing and includes masters and doctoral degrees. Job opportunities include clinical nurse specialists, researchers, faculty managers, etc. APNs can handle primary as well as tertiary care duties. The definition of APN changes from state to state and so do their rights and duties. APNs are eligible for a DEA number which gives them prescriptive authority.

Registered Nurses, who have acquired training in recognizing and managing medical conditions that are fairly common, qualify as Nurse Practitioners (NP). NPs execute duties similar to those of a physician and are often regular health care providers for people. Nurse Practitioners are trained toward wellness and preventive techniques. This means that the patient is educated and treated at the same time and is also spared the costs of expensive prescriptions.

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