Becoming a nurse in the U.S. might begin the same way in most cases – officially becoming a registered nurse, or “RN” – but that is where the uniformity stops. After that, the number of different career paths, places of work, duties and roles available to registered nurses can be incredibly diverse. And along with all these distinct roles comes a range of different salaries available to RNs, all depending on the healthcare jobs they could be fulfilling or the employers they could be working for.
By becoming a registered nurse, you could eventually find yourself building a relationship with home residents as an in-home nurse or assisting top surgeons in very complex operations as an assistant. There are nursing careers available for every educational level, coming with a variety of salaries, locations, and responsibilities. Just a cursory search on the many health job boards out there, such as Health Jobs Nationwide, will return a range of nursing jobs. Nursing Jobs, by the way, are defined simply as those which are for registered nurses – many of the roles offered might leave you surprised that they come under the healthcare umbrella term “nursing”.
The Largest Healthcare Profession – And a Profession Growing
Nursing is indeed the largest of the healthcare professions, and this perhaps goes some way to explaining the diversity of roles on offer for registered nurses. According to the American Association of Collages of Nursing (AACN), it is estimated that there are nearly three million registered nursing jobs either filled or on offer as of now. And according to the same source, that is a number only predicted to grow over the next decade or so. The sheer number of nursing jobs out there speaks not only to their great diversity, but also how essential nurses are to the whole healthcare infrastructure.
What Are the Different Types of Nurses?
So, if you are looking at becoming a registered nurse but are unsure about where to take things from there, a run-down of some of the different types of nursing jobs out there might prove quite useful. As mentioned, the great thing about nursing is that there is a great deal of transferable skills that will allow you to potentially switch between different career paths without having to abandon entirely all your progress. But while it might be useful to try a few out, knowing what is out there to begin with can be helpful.
Certified Nursing Assistant
A CAN’s responsibilities include monitoring and caring for patients at a very basic level. This includes monitoring vital signs, bathing patients, dressing them, and assisting with repositioning and walking. This role is actually a sub-RN position and is usually taken up in preparation for becoming an RN.
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse
These two further sub-RN positions involve broadly similar duties, including changing bandages, monitoring blood pressure, collecting blood and urine samples, and addressing patient concerns to RNs and doctors.
Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse
As the name suggests, these nurses are responsible for assisting surgeons during surgical procedures. In addition to this, surgical assistant nurses will also care for the patients before and after the operation, responsible for both preparation and recovery.
Home Care Registered Nurse
Home care nurses are those who assist patients in their own homes. These nurses will prepare and operate equipment, administer medications, and monitor patient conditions.
To hopefully give you a sense of the true diversity of nursing roles out there, this is, in fact, only a small fraction of the available nursing roles. If you are thinking of becoming a registered nurse, there is no shortage of exciting options.