Types of Nursing Degrees

  • Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

    Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses. Most practical nursing training programs last about one year, and are offered by vocational and technical schools or community or junior colleges. LPNs must be licensed to practice.
    Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

  • Registered Nurses

    Registered nurses (RNs), regardless of specialty or work setting, treat patients, educate patients and the public about various medical conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients’ family members. Specific work responsibilities will vary from one RN to the next. An RN’s duties and title are often determined by their work setting or patient population served. RNs can specialize in one or more areas of patient care.
    There are three typical educational paths to registered nursing—a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and a diploma. BSN programs, offered by colleges and universities, take about four years to complete. ADN programs, offered by community and junior colleges, take about two to three years to complete. Diploma programs, administered in hospitals, last about three years.
    Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Registered Nurses

  • Advanced Practice Nurses

    There are four types of advanced practice nurses:

    • Clinical nurse specialists provide direct patient care and expert consultations in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health.
    • Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia and related care before and after surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetrical procedures. They also provide pain management and emergency services, such as airway management.
    • Nurse-midwives provide primary care to women, including gynecological exams, family planning advice, prenatal care, assistance in labor and delivery, and neonatal care.
    • Nurse practitioners serve as primary and specialty care providers, providing a blend of nursing and healthcare services to patients and families.

    Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Registered Nurses

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