Which Nursing track is right for me?
For anyone wanting to enter the nursing field, the options are wide open. The most common levels for nurses are the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), the Registered Nurse (RN) and a Nurse Practitioner.
How do you decide which level is right for you?
A person wanting to enter the nursing field must have a caring, compassionate personality. They must be able to work on a team with one-on-one interactions with patients. Beyond that, the level of nursing depends on how much education you want to pursue and how far you want to advance in the future.
A Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, typically works in a nursing home or hospital and performs everyday living tasks for the elderly, chronically sick or rehabilitation patients who cannot care for themselves. The education for this level can be completed in a few weeks and then the person is eligible to apply to take the state certification examination.
Graduates of the two-year ADN program are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and can continue on to seek a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
A Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN works mostly in long-term facilities or a doctor’s office. They have a vast scope of training, but are limited in what they can do for patients, particularly in dealing with medication administration. There is also a different level of critical thinking. The LPN is more focused on implementing what needs to be done. This health care professional can earn a practical nursing diploma in one year and is eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
A Registered Nurse (RN) is the most well-known level of nursing. These professionals have a wide range of skills and are trained to thoroughly assess the situation and then act. Graduates of the two-year Associate Degree Nursing program are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and can continue on to seek a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), a degree that will open many doors in nursing management.
Many nurses with a BSN continue on to become a Nurse Practitioner. NPs assess patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, make diagnoses, and initiate and manage treatment plans – including prescribing medications, many roles once reserved for a doctor.
Piedmont Technical College offers a comprehensive nursing program with a Practical Nursing diploma and an Associate Degree in Nursing, as well as Continuing Education courses that will prepare you to sit for the South Carolina Nurse Aides exam. Visit the PTC Nursing webpage to learn more about the program.