4 MIN READ | Wellness

Ellen Diamond

Main Levels of Nursing Degrees and Credentials

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Ellen Diamond, (2022, June 9). Main Levels of Nursing Degrees and Credentials. Psychreg on Wellness. https://www.psychreg.org/main-levels-nursing-degrees-credentials/
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Those who decide to go into the nursing career will find that this is an exciting profession. There are so many open positions and opportunities out there, that it is hard to know where to even begin. If you want to do something new each day and make a good living while helping out others, then becoming a nurse makes a lot of sense. 

Whether you have some big hopes of specializing in a certain field, climbing the ranks, or even becoming an entrepreneur in the nursing field, there are different nursing degrees and certifications that you can choose. The four core levels of nursing include:

Nursing assistant or CNA

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), are the frontline of contact between the medical staff and their patients. This is often a good starting point for many nurses who are worried about getting into the field and start. 

There are several tasks that nursing students are allowed to do to help make things easier on the patient and prepare the patient for being seen. A medical professional. They can do tasks like:

  • Bathe the patient and help them get dressed.
  • Help the patient dress.
  • Help the patient use the bathroom and do some of their other daily activities. 
  • They can measure the vital signs of the patient.

Depending on the exact level of CNA training, the nurse may be able to dispense medication in some states. These professionals will often be the principal caregivers for patients who live in residential care facilities and nursing homes. 

Licensed practical nurse or LPN

A licensed practical nurse will be responsible for several duties for the patient. They will monitor the patient’s health and administer some of the basic care to them. They can help out with a good deal of tasks for the patient, including:

  • Taking the blood pressure of the patient
  • Inserting catheters
  • Starting IV drips if needed
  • Changing bandages

It is also common for the LPN to communicate with patients and sometimes their family members, educating them on the proper care plan to help the patient get better. There are different state regulations for LPNs when it comes to giving medication and the amount of supervision that is required as well. 

LPNs can start when they complete the practical nursing diploma programme. These programmes are found in a variety of settings and can be done in 12 months or less. After graduating from the programme, the professional will also need to pass what is known as the National Council Licensure Examination to get their license and start working. 

Registered nurse or RN

An RN is going to be the professional most associated with the term nurse. They will assume a wide variety of roles when it comes to patient care. For example, they will be able to help with:

  • Recording the medical history of the patient
  • Monitoring symptoms and the medical equipment used
  • Administering medicine to the patient
  • Establishing or contributing to a plan of care
  • Performing some of the necessary diagnostic tests
  • Collaborating with the doctors to come up with a plan. 

It is common for some RNs to oversee the work of LPNs, CNAs, and other healthcare staff. The specifics of the job that these professionals can do will depend on the medical facility and the type of patients they have. 

To become an RN, you will need to go for a nursing degree. The two most common are the Associate’s Degree in Nursing and the Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Both are a good start to help you get the work done, with the possibility of being done in 18 months or less. 

When choosing which track to go with, it is important to think ahead and determine the educational preferences for the work you wish to do when you are done. Some of the employers you apply to will prefer RNs who have Bachelor’s degrees, and others may not care which one, as long as you have the right training and skills. 

Advanced practice registered nurses or APRNs

Nurses who work on their education and get a Master of Science in Nursing will be able to practice as registered nurses. These nurses will have many options when it comes to the right career choices for them. They can work with other medical professionals or even start their practice and work on their own. 

These professionals can perform all of the duties of an RN, as well as some of the more extensive tasks, like ordering and evaluating test results, referring patients to specialists, and diagnosing and treating ailments. 

There are a few different career paths that an MSN nurse would be able to pursue outside of the APRN role. One option is for them to become a nurse educator, which allows them to help train the next generation of nurses. Some will work more in a leadership role, which means they may want to become a director of nursing or something similar. 

To get this advanced degree, you will need to first become an RN and then you can move on to getting the master’s portion of this when you are ready. 

Choosing to become a nurse

When you are looking into all of the benefits of becoming a nurse and the different degrees that you need to get, there can be a lot of worry about how to get it all done. Picking the right degree will make a world of difference and can help you get the promotion and higher salary that you deserve. 

When you are ready to pick up the pace and take your nursing degree, it may be time to go back to school for a Master’s Degree in Nursing. This will help you learn valuable skills that will prepare you for the workforce and make you highly desirable to all medical facilities. Look through your options and see whether a master’s degree in nursing is right for you.


Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.


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