I. Education Requirements for Registered Nurses
Registered Nurses (RN) assess, plan, deliver, evaluate, and adjust care for individuals and groups of patients. They also direct and supervise support staff, such as LPNs and Nursing Assistants. All RNs must graduate from an accredited school of nursing and pass a state licensing exam before entry into practice. There are two types of nursing programs which prepare RNs for practice.
1) Associate Degree (ADN, ASN): Courses include sciences, humanities and nursing skills. The programs utilize classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences to prepare students to care for patients across the lifespan in hospitals, long term care, and community settings. This course of study is two years.
2) Baccalaureate Degree (BS): A four year program at a university or college. The programs utilize classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences to prepare students to care for patients across the lifespan in hospitals, long term care and community settings. In addition, the BS education prepares nurses to improve critical decision making skills and to acquire management and research skills.
3) Master’s Degree (MS): This is an advanced degree of concentrated study in one particular area. Students are required to complete comprehensive written exams and prepare a research project. Nurses with a Master's degree practice as Nurse Administrators, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Nurse Anesthetists, Clinical Leaders, Clinical Nurse Specialists, or Nurse Educators.
II. Education Requirements for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or a Physician. They provide hands on care to patients in a variety of settings including clinics, offices and home health. LPNs are required to attend an accredited school for practical nursing. The program is usually 3 semesters and includes classroom and practical clinical experiences. After successful completion of an LPN program, students must pass the state licensing examination before they begin practicing.