LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) Typical education for an LPN is a one-year program through a community college or vocational/technical school. The program provides classroom education focusing on disease processes throughout a lifespan continuum, preliminary assessments utilizing the nursing process, prioritizing patient care and how to document care in nursing notes while under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). The student is provided clinical rotations, typically in long-term care facilities, where he/she can translate concepts learned in the classroom to bedside experience through “hands on” direct patient care contact. Upon successful completion of the LPN program, the student is eligible for the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination) for Practical or Vocational Nurses.
RN (Registered Nurse) - Associate's Degree (ADN) or Bachelor's Degree (BSN) A Registered Nurse is someone who has completed at least two years education at the community college level, obtaining an Associate Degree (AD); or, has completed a four-year bachelor degree program in nursing (BSN) at an institution of higher level learning, such as a University. Upon completion of education, whether it is AD or BSN, the student is able to take the NCLEX-RN exam, and both the AD and BSN take the same licensing exam to obtain a RN license. There is additional instruction on Nursing Administration as the RN is responsible for supervising patient care provided by the LPN and other unlicensed providers. The AD and BSN students also experience clinical rotations to apply concepts learned in the classroom to actual patients. The clinical rotations are typically performed in both long-term care facilities and acute care facilities.
MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) MSN is post-graduate study that requires approximately two years of additional study. MSN programs go deeper on the scientific aspect of nursing, encompassing advanced body of knowledge related to science and medicine. Oftentimes, nurses can opt to specialize in a specific field in nursing.
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) There are two distinctive types of Doctoral programs; the Research Focused (PhD) and the Practice Focused (DNP). Staying current with the every changing health care landscape is compelling nurses to design, evaluate and continuously improve the framework in which health care is provided. Doctoral prepared nurses are more skilled to respond to the continuously changing health care environment through their comprehensive studies in the areas of clinical, organizational, economic and competencies. Their leadership skills position them to assess nursing and other scientific findings, and design programs of care delivery that are appropriate and economically feasible → resulting in enhanced health care outcomes.