There are many careers available in the realm of nursing. The highest form of a nurse is the RN with the lowest being a CNA. There are other different nurse types which fit into the middle area as well. They are the same thing, but often called something different depending on where you live. Here is a summary of a few of the nursing titles and a little about what they do:
Registered Nurse (RN)
The RN is a Registered Nurse who is very knowledgeable and informative in their area of expertise. They work under a doctor and are a support to a physician in their line of work. An RN may delegate work to an RPN, an RNA or a CNA. They oversee the medical care provided by the nursing staff. As it relates to patient care, the RN is responsible to contribute to identifying patient’s needs, respond to emergency situations, administer medications prescribed by the physician, reporting significant changes in a patient’s health, as well as providing overall care in assisting the physicians.
Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) / Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) / Registered Nursing Assistant (RNA)
The RPN or LPN answers to the RN and is responsible and accountable for all the tasks assigned to them. They are expected to respond to emergency situations as they arise and provide assistance, record and observe aspects of a patient’s care and report significant changes. The RPN must also have abilities in decontaminating and sterilizing equipment.
The CNA is the lower end of the totem pole when it comes to the nursing profession. The CNA provides care as it relates to patient’s needs such as: changing bed linens, transporting patients in wheelchairs or rolling beds, turning patients in their beds to prevent bed sores, changing dressings, preparing a patient for surgery, observing and reporting on vital signs, and providing help in exercise.