Top 25 Nursing Blogs of 2016 to Follow

top-25-nursing-blogsOne occupation that is among the most important ones for the benefit and health of the people, is nursing profession. Even though the healthcare pioneers and the brains of the healthcare occupations consist of doctors, surgeons and physicians, nurses represent the backbone of the brains and without them, any work would be incomplete.

There are some amazing websites that include various information on how to become part of the nursing community and interesting stories of the nurses. These websites and blogs provide valid resources about the nursing profession, some of which offer detailed education plans, information about the requirements for nurses-to-be, useful guidelines and ability to learn from the certified nurses. Some of the listed websites represent the organizations and communities of registered nurses and some of them provide valuable information, stories and journals  for any aspiring nurse to be. These are the top 26 nursing blogs 2016:

  • Nursingworld – American Nurses Association represent around 3,6 million registered nurses and with this great website, gather everyone from any state, who belongs to this profession offering discussion boards and forums, including professional development topics and new about nursing in general.
  • DiscoverNursing – everything you want to know about the nursing occupation from schools to scholarships, can be found on this website, ranging from schools by states and requirements a student must fulfill.
  • TravelNursing – this website offers all there is to know about travel nursing, job opportunities and benefits of this particular profession. A one-of-a-kind career portal for nurses who are in search of an adventure and flexible work environment.
  • TravelNursingBlogs – this is also one great website concerning travel nursing occupation where you can find information about career, salary, benefits and the whole life on the road. Remember tips and read advices from travel nurses across the country.
  • TravelNursingCentral – another very informative website regarding travel nursing profession and is a great and valuable source of travel nursing company reviews for any travel nurse aspiring student.
  • TheNursingSiteBlog – personal nursing blog of Kathy Quan, a registered nurse with more than 30 years of work experience. Gather the knowledge about personal side of nursing profession with Kathy Quan.
  • NursingCenter – detailed list of articles regarding continuing education, journals and e-books concerning nursing practice. Great host of credible, authoritative and evidence-based resources with daily nursing news as well.
  • TheNursingSite -registered nurse Kathy Quan is the owner and editor in chief for both NursingSite and NursingSiteBlog. On this website, she offers information for any aspiring nurse or students of nursing programs, along with the general knowledge of nursing history and issues of the profession.
  • RTconnections – Renee Thompson, a registered nurse offers amazing seminars, consulting and presentations on her blog, from anti-bullying personal campaign to her published work for any aspiring nurse-to-be.
  • TheNerdyNurse – this personal blog of an award-winning blogger and author, Britney Wilson, offers information regarding nursing, technology, healthcare IT and other useful topics connected to nursing occupation.
  • NursingEthics – Ph.Ds Chris MacDonald and Nancy Walton, published their blog where they mainly focus on the ethical side of nursing occupation, including the applied and professional ethics as well.
  • INQRIblog – short for Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, provides information about the understanding of how the nursing profession contributes and improves the quality of patient care.
  • ERnurse – personal blog of an emergency room nurse and interesting and educative tales and stories behind the ER nurse profession, including everyday events that happen to emergency room nurse.
  • MedHealthWriter – great blog of Marijke, a registered nurse with more than 30 years of experience in ICU, rehabilitation, palliative care and pediatrics and she turned her knowledge into blog writing and article writing about healthcare topics
  • ThirdAge – detailed wellness and health site for women, aged 45 and over, with many great articles about health issues, lifestyle and interactive information and research for this specific group of women.
  • MyStrongMedicine – Sean Dent, an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with 10 years of blogging history, provides many interesting articles, stories and vlogs concerning the nursing occupation and everything it brings with it.
  • NursingNotesOfDiscord – interesting personal blog of Enid Mueller, a registered nurse working in the psychiatric ward, offers stories and tales about every-day work of a psychiatric nurse and her encounters with fellow members and patients.
  • EHRtutor – this website offers valuable information, suggestions and improvement tips for any nursing and healthcare educator or instructor with an accent to improving lectures and classes with technology.
  • AdrienneRN – Adrienne Huston, a registered nurse working in cardiology unit, writes about her nursing experience and everyday moments happening in her nursing career with personal opinions regarding her profession and patient care.
  • ERnurseCare – Leslie Block, a registered nurse with 28+ years of experience, member of the Board of Directors of non-profit organization Mommy’s Network, writes about her years of experience in healthcare field.
  • DiversityNursing – great website for aspiring nurses, offering job board information, community access and resources for all nurses regardless of sex, age, religion or education. Very informative website for students and those enrolled in nursing programs.
  • EvidenceBasedNursing – four contributors of this website, all in nursing profession, provide valuable research announcements and news, discussion forum for nurses and librarians who are interested in evidence based nursing.
  • BabyRNDeb – Labor & Delivery nurse writes about her everyday work and patients and writes personal opinions about her job, with interesting stories of the other side of labor and delivery.
  • BahalaNaNurseBlog – with 20 years of working as a Pharmacy technician, Chiqui Raveloski changed career into nursing and works as a registered nurse in telemetry unit, writing various stories personal nursing experiences and living a life with type I diabetes for 40+ years.
  • NursingSchoolInsandOuts – personal blog of an aspiring nurse-to-be, Candy, with her posts about her schooling days as a full-time RN and full-time NP student. Read about her stories about semesters, time consuming subjects and all pros and cons of being a nursing student.

How to become a nursing assistant (or) Orderly?

Nursing assistants, once known as the Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service, date back to World War I where ‘The American Red Cross’ trained individuals to aid the nurses with the casualties of war. It was only in 1987 that the Congress passed the Omnibus Reconciliation which declared that trained assistants nurses could be hired to work alongside with nurses.

Indeed, nowadays the role of  nursing assistants who are found in the majority of the health care field, called CNAs (Certified Nurse Assistants) for short, is to help the patients by providing them not only with their day-to-day needs, but also monitor their vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and sugar level, dietary restrictions and so on.

Step 1 – Do you have what it takes to become a nursing assistant?

What qualities should one have in order to be able to become a nursing assistant? First of all, CNAs must be compassionate, sympathetic and kind-hearted since they need to support their patients through difficult times, where they may be experiencing both physical and mental pain. Furthermore, nursing assistants should have a natural desire to help other people in need; in fact it could turn out to be unbearable if it is done only as a source of profit.

Additionally, they need be decision makers, not passive persons because they may come face to face with an instance where they must act fast and take quick decisions, otherwise the life of the patient may be threatened. They must also have a positive attitude to cheer up the patients when things are getting hectic or they are feeling depressed. Indeed they can be among the few who can make a difference in the lives of patients of all ages!

Since CNAs are responsible for assisting the patients with their daily routines, such as bathing them, moving them from a sitting position to a standing position, they must be physically strong; otherwise they would be unable to carry out such tasks! Working under the supervision of licensed nurses, nursing assistants must be able to treat the patients with dignity and the respect that they deserve! If you lack these qualities, I am I sorry to have to break it to you but this career is not the one you should be pursuing…

Step 2 – Enroll in a training course

In order to become a CNA, a college degree is not required since the credentials are issued by the state itself. As matter of fact, those who wish to become nursing assistants just have to enroll in a state-sanctioned training program. This specific training is of vital importance since as they will be responsible for other individuals, it is essential for them to familiarize themselves with the proper procedures and the correct protocols.

The average cost of the tuition fees is approximately that of one thousand and two hundred dollars. These training programs, which are quite challenging, are offered by many institutions; including the American Red Cross, local health care providers (example hospitals), community colleges, and vocational/technical schools. Training problems may also be provided online, however if this is the case, the majority of these online courses require the students to be present on the campus for the clinical part.

Nonetheless, due to the fact that CNA training requirements vary according to the state, those who wish to enroll in this course should check the regulations beforehand so as to make sure that the training course is recognized by their state, especially if you are considering to enroll in an online course since those which do not provide hands-on experience are not approved by most states. As a matter of fact, choosing a course that is not recognized in your state is useless and a big waste of time and money! Some of these institutions, after accepting them as new students, they may be asked to sit for a fitness test and may even carry out a background check to make sure they have a clean record!

What do the training courses focus on?

cna trainingIf you never paid any attention back in school, do not worry! Training courses offered by vocational/technical schools usually last between four to twelve weeks and, focusing mainly on both theoretical and practical training. The student gets to learn the fundamental nursing skills, about the infection control protocol, anatomy, and nutrition; preparing him to for the job market as a competitive applicant. On the other hand, those offered by community colleges lasting between six and sixteen weeks, aim to teach the students the value of compassionate and professional communication, apart from working as part of a team which enables them to become excellent team players. Whereas the training provided by hospitals, lasting between four and eight weeks, is quite fast-paced when considered to those offered by other institutions; students start working with patients from the very start. This enables the prospective nursing assistants to have a first-hand experience in the career they’re pursuing. Lastly, the four to eight weeks training course offered by the Red Cross, which is among the most well-known institutions, emphasizes on the art of care giving; including positioning, bathing and dressing the patients – in other words helping them complete their day-to-day needs.

If you have already obtained an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in the nursing area or gained a Registered nurse certificate even though graduating from college is NOT a requirement, it will be advantageous to you! Once you start looking for a job as a nursing assistant you will be a more competitive applicant, and once employed it is most probable that you will start off with a relevantly higher salary when compared to that of your fellow CNAs who haven’t completed their college education.

Step 3 – Become a fully certified nursing assistant

certificationEven though the training course has been completed successfully, you are still not eligible to start working! To start working, you must be fully certified! In order to become a fully certified nursing assistant, you must sit for the CNA State Competency Test. This mandatory exam varies according to the state you wish to work in once you are fully certified. The aim of the competency test is to fully test your knowledge and proficiency in nursing skills. In some states you can start working while waiting to take your exams for up to four months! However, for legal reasons, this is not allowed in all the states which prohibit work until acquiring this certification.

Help in finding the nearest exam center is usually given by the instructor leading you through the training course you have recently completed. I advise you to sit for this exam straight after finishing your training when all the information is still fresh in your mind. Also, in order to prepare yourself better, you can find online test prep guides (locally provided are the most convenient) and examine yourself, while increasing your confidence.

What does the exam consist of?

cna examThe competency test consists of two exams – a theoretical exam and a practical/clinical exam. The theoretical part is made up of sixty to hundred multiple choice questions. These questions are based on the theoretical notions of nursing and are mostly about the basic responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant, the newest technology and tools that are used, cautionary measures to be taken in order to safeguard to health of the patient, law and ethics, safety, mental health needs, cultural needs, client rights and so on. The following a sample of a question that may be asked during this section:

When assisting a client in learning to use a walker, it is important to:

  1. stand behind him and use a transfer belt
  2. put padding all the way around the top rim
  3. let him walk by himself so he gains independence
  4. let him practice using the walker on the day he is discharged

The clinical part is the most challenging part of the test. For the latter exam, you cannot go alone; you need to take a friend! Why’s that? The friend you will take with you for the practical test will be your patient on whom you will demonstrate your care-giving skills to the examiner! This should make you feel more at ease, a friendly face always help soften the tension…

Apart from taking along a friend, the most vital things you will need to remember to take with you are a gait belt and gloves. A gait belt is the device used for moving the patients from one position to another, for example transferring them from a standing to a sitting position or transferring the patient from the wheelchair to the bed. The examiner will most probably assess you on three to five skills such as a partial bed bath, offering a urinal or bedpan, use of a gait belt, and making an occupied bed, while keeping a close watch on whether you take the necessary procedures for infection control (for example washing your hands and wearing gloves).

If you make a mistake, do not get nervous! These things are due to happen, especially if you have the jitters. The examiner is sure to keep this in consideration and will not fail you on your first mistake. If you realize you become conscious of your error, simply inquire him whether you can re-demonstrate, he will probably allow you to do so. You will be told whether you have passed or failed the clinical part, on the spot, right after finishing the demonstration has finished.

If unfortunately, you do not manage to pass either the practical part or the theoretical part, inquire the people responsible when you can reschedule it and whether you need to retake either both parts or just the one you failed in as it depends on the state’s rules. However, if you pass both parts you can start working immediately! You are now officially a certified nursing assistant.

Step 4 – You can finally start working as a Certified Nursing Assistant

Icon-NurseSMAt last you are eligible for nursing assistant jobs. As a newly graduate, even though this will be your first job in this area, do not give up on finding a job. With nursing assistant roles expanding faster than the usual job growth rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics these work opportunities will grow by twenty one percent by 2022 – an addition of around 321,200 jobs – 730 new job openings per year, you will most likely be successful in finding your first job. This rapid growth is a result of an aging population and an increase in the number of people suffering from chronic illnesses.

Also note that it is illegal to offer your services as an independent provider. According to regulations, nursing assistants can ONLY operate under the supervision of licensed nurses. Even though one should pursue this career because he likes it and sees it as a mean of helping others, income plays a major role. The annual salary, which is dependent on many determining factors, including the state, experience, additional skills and training, ranges from twenty thousand to thirty thousand. The top paying state is Alaska, with a pay rate of $14.36 per hour, followed by New York with a pay rate of $13.63 per hour, whereas the lowest paying state is Louisiana with a pay rate of $7.57 per hour, followed by Mississippi with a pay rate of $8.16 per hour.

The key for a successful job interview

successful cnaIn order to find a good job as a nursing assistant, you need to be successful in the job interview. What questions could be asked? Firstly, it is most probable that the interviewer asks you to tell him a bit about yourself. Even though it is important to mention your academic achievements, discuss some of your personal experiences that you think will make you a good nursing assistant. Make it a point that you tell him why you are choosing this job in the first place – ‘I get along with people very well. Moreover I am a highly motivated and compassionate person; the latter is what motivated me to become a nursing assistant. I want to dedicate my time to help other people, make them feel at home and make sure they are well cared for.’ Now this kind of response will probably get you the job!

Other questions you may be asked are why you left your previous job, where you see yourself in a couple of years, what qualities you possess that you think will be useful and so on. The most important thing to remember during the interview is to be honest and keep both your feet on the ground… All you need to do is to think of why you are applying and you’re sure to do fine.

The Role of a CNA

As a nursing assistant, you are unlikely to have two or more day which are exactly the same. Your responsibilities will vary depending on whether you are working a night shift or a day shift and in which facility you will be working in. For example during a night shift, your responsibilities will include answering call lights, emptying catheters, helping patients get ready for surgery, and even provide support to people who are experiencing physical or mental pain.

The day shift is not as quiet as it the night shift. The busy hours start as soon as the patients wake up and you have to bathe them, dress them, help them eat their breakfast, and sometimes even give them their necessary medication. You must be able to manage multiple patients concurrently, for this reason you must be organised and efficient.

Being a nurse assistant is a highly demanding job; physically, mentally and emotionally. Hence it is essential to take care of yourself and not neglect your needs. In order to prevent injury, make sure you lift the patients properly. Furthermore, eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and exercise, even if not regularly, to maintain your high energy levels during work. You can also participate in activities that will help you keep a mental stamina and help you relax. I know it’s easier said than done but after all, if you do not put your effort in taking care of yourself, how can you take care of others?

The thing that you must NOT ever do is go to work if you are not feeling well yourself. This may be a threat to your patients, especially the older ones who are more vulnerable.

Step 5 – Certification Renewal

accreditation-iconAlthough it is true that you are a certified nursing assistant, many states require a certification renewal every two years. In order to be able to renew it, you must complete a minimum of forty eight hours of continuing education. Even though it differs from one state to another, the majority of the states oblige you to do a minimum of twelve hours in each year within the two year time frame. During this period you will be receiving training on healthcare issues that are always evolving such as medical record documentation, first aid, and domestic violence. This continuing education is usually paid by the employee itself. It may be the case that your employee provides you with this training himself! In either case, you will not need to spend a dime while furthering your knowledge!

Step 6 – Why stop now?

Once you become a certified nursing assistant you need not stop there. CNAs can further their career by furthering credentials, allowing them to specialize in their work. These specializations include becoming activity assistants, medication aides, wound care associates, and patient care technicians. Other opportunities such as physical therapy assistants, registered nurses, and even occupational therapy assistants are possible by continuing their education.

Even though sometimes the job may be a bit tedious due to many long hours and work which may be very demanding, nursing assistants generally confess that they feel satisfied and confident that they are pursuing the right career because they are helping other people, people who rely on them to help them get through the day. If you are a CNA you are rewarded in some many ways, ways you will not even think possible until you get to experience them yourself!

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Similar Occupations

There are other medical careers with job duties that closely relate to those of nursing assistants or orderlies. Some of these occupations are as explained below:

  • Personal Care Aides: They typically assist clients or patients with self-care and daily tasks. Personal care aides also provide social assistance and support that allows clients to take part in the communities. There is no formal educational credential and the average salary is about $20,980.
  • Home Health Aides: They usually help people with cognitive impairment, disabilities or chronic illnesses with tasks of daily living. Home health aides frequently assist people who need help. Some states allow home health aides to dispense medication and check if patients have any vital signs under the instruction of a health practitioner or nurse. There is no formal educational credential and the average salary is about $21,920
  • Psychiatric Technicians and Aides: They typically care for patients with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. The main function of psychiatric technicians is to monitor the conditions of their patients and provide therapeutic care. Psychiatric aides ensure patients are safe, living in a clean environment and help them in their daily activities. The minimum requirement is an associate’s degree from a certified occupational therapy assistant program which is licensed in most states and the average salary is about $28,320
  • Medical Assistants: Their work is to complete clinical and administrative tasks in the offices of hospitals, doctors and other healthcare facilities. However, they duties usually differ with speciality, location and the size of the practice. The minimum requirement is a postsecondary non-degree award and the average salary is about $30,590.
  • Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides: Physical therapist assistants are also called PTAs and they usually work under the supervision and instructions of a physical therapist. Physical therapist aides assist patients who are on the road to recovery from illnesses or injuries to manage pain and regain movement. The minimum requirement is an associate’s degree from an accredited program and the average salary is about $42,980.
  • Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses: The main function of licensed practical and vocational nurses is to provide fundamental nursing care. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) work under the direction of doctors and registered nurses. The minimum requirement is a postsecondary non-degree award and the average salary is about $43,170.
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides: They typically help patients grow, improve and recover the skills and abilities needed to perform daily activities and for daily living. Occupational therapy aides usually perform support tasks while occupational therapy assistants are directly concerned with providing therapy to patients. Both of them work under the instructions and supervision of occupational therapists. The minimum requirement is an associate’s degree from a certified occupational therapy assistant program that is licensed in most states. The average salary is about $54,520.
  • Registered Nurses: They coordinate and provide patient care, educate patients and the community about various health conditions and give patients emotional support and advice to them and their family members. The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. The average salary is about $67,490.


How to Become a Neonatal Nurse: Schools, Salary & Certification Info

Neonatal nursing is a term that defines a branch of nursing, or healthcare, that focuses on the proper infant care. Neonatal nurses have the task to provide care for infants who are born with birth defects, heart deformities, possible infections, and babies who are prematurely born. The first month to a year after birth for these infants is very important, seeing as the infants are very vulnerable and at a high risk. Fortunately, advancements in this healthcare branch, together with advancements in technology and healthcare in general has ensured that most of the infants that need this special type of care are able to overcome this difficult period and grow up into very healthy children.

neonatal nursing degreeNeonatal nurses work in special Neonatal Intensive Care Units. If you want to become a neonatal nurse, you need to follow the guidelines provided below, as taking care of the sensitive infants is a highly delicate task, and they need medical care that is highly specialized. Considering the delicacy of the tasks of a neonatal nurse, it comes as no surprise that this profession is one of the most apprehensive healthcare careers, and has a great impact on many lives.

Neonatal period is a term that refers to the first 28 days of an infant’s life, because these initial weeks of life are very important to infants in general, not only to infants that are born prematurely, or with heart deformities and infections. However, unlike normal, healthy infants, infants that are born this way need even greater care, and many of them remain in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for weeks after birth, depending on the gravity of their situation, and some of them might remain in the Unit for a year or more, if necessary.

The kind of care that the neonatal nurse needs to be prepared to give to the infant depends on the infant, and each infant is unique, and thus, needs specialized care. It depends on the infant’s overall health to begin with, but another very important factor is the infant’s gestational age, the nature of the ailments, infections or deformities it was born with, as well as the delivery method. All of these things have a say in the proper care for the infant, which is why one of the biggest tasks of a neonatal nurse is to prepare a proper plan of care for the infant, and to decide whether the infant needs intensive care and is very critical, or if the infant only needs light monitoring and is only in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a short period of stabilization.

Prospective neonatal nurses need to be prepared for the responsibility, and for the wide range of different, yet specialized care that these infants need. During the first year of life, infants need vaccines, medications and various other medical tests, and, most of the infant spend this period in incubators, and have other needs, which means the prospective neonatal nurse needs to be ready to administer the vaccines and medications in the correct way for each baby, as the tiniest mistake can have a great impact on the infant’s life. Additionally, the neonatal nurses also need to be prepared to work with incubators, ventilators, and other sophisticated medical equipment, which is what makes this position highly demanding, but also incredibly rewarding.

Below, we have elaborated on what you need to do to become a neonatal nurse, the kind of education you will need, as well as what kind of working environment you can expect, which hospitals and healthcare units you can work in, and what the average annual salary of a neonatal nurse is, and the job prospects of the medical branch in the future.

An overview – What do Neonatal Nurses do?

In normal situations, newborns, along with the new mothers, remain the hospital for a week or two after the infant’s delivery. In the past, neonatal nurses took care of the babies in this initial period of life, taking care of them and making sure that their every need has been taken care of. Additionally, infants born with heart deformities, premature infants, as well as infants born with infections were not able to thrive and, for lack of a better word, survive to toddlerhood because there weren’t enough advancements in medicine and technology to aid these babies. Today, that has changes. Neonatal nurses take care of infants that need specialized care, while maternity nurses take care of the healthy babies.

In general, since the proper care of infants depends on many factors, and needs to be specialized, there are different levels of neonatal nurses. One of the reasons for the leveled division is to give time to newly registered (more on that later) nurses time to get properly acquainted with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and to get assimilated into the workforce before moving on to upper levels to attend to babies in the upper, more specialized nursery levels.

Below is how the usual Neonatal Intensive Care Units are divided.

Level I

level I is where the healthy infants reside. Level I neonatal nurses take care of these healthy babies by monitoring them when they are not staying in their mother’s ward. They ensure that the new infant is well fed, warm, and clean. This level can be found in almost every hospital or health center, and, as mentioned above, is often tended by maternity nurses, depending on the location and organization of the hospital workforce.

Level II

Level II nursery is where infants who are affected by an ailment that is not serious, or who are born prematurely, but are generally healthy, are housed. These infants get to leave the unit and go home in a matter of weeks, sometimes even after a few days’ care. Their needs are on a slightly higher level than the needs of normal babies, because in addition to getting properly fed and kept warm, these babies often need oxygen masks, special medications, and special feeding methods and periods. However, despite the specialization, these special care units can be found in most community hospitals and health centers as Level I units.

Level III

Level III nursery wards house premature babies and babies who are ill or infected and need special care with medical equipment, such as respiratory support, as well as babies who are critically ill and need high-tech care, but not surgical interventions.

Level IV

Level IV nursery wards are the most advanced and complex wards of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This ward houses babies who are in very critical conditions, and usually need surgical interventions. The infants stay there for a prolonged period of time which can last all the way to toddlerhood, depending on the condition. This ward is staffed by neonatal nurses who are seasoned and have the most experience, as they not only need to provide the care of the previous three levels, they also need to take care of infants both before and after surgery.

Level III and Level IV wards are highly specialized, and usually a part of large hospitals in big metropolises. The neonatal nurses that staff these wards need to be prepared for long shifts, irregular hours, and quite often working on holidays and weekends, because the infants in these wards need constant care by a qualified neonatal nurse. They also need to be prepared to work together with the infant’s parents and families, and know how to interact with them and make sure that they understand their baby’s special needs, especially after discharging, because the infants housed in these two wards often need to continue their treatment after coming home.

On the other hand, level I and II neonatal nurses work in more relaxed conditions and a more relaxed atmosphere, as the babies there are usually discharged within weeks, and most often do not need extended treatment. They rarely have irregular hours, or need to work weekends and holidays, unless it is an emergency situation.

Educational background of neonatal nurses – what are the requirements?

Becoming a qualified neonatal nurse requires a lot of work and time. To begin with, you need to become a registered nurse. You can become a registered nurse by completing an associate or a bachelor degree program in college or university. An associate degree takes about two years to complete, while a bachelor’s degree needs an additional two. After that, you can seek placement and positions in neonatal departments of hospitals and healthcare centers. It is highly important that you be prepared for further training on the job, and to look for internships and positions in neonatal wards before graduating in order to gain experience which will help you in your position, and help you move ahead in your career. In order to become a registered nurse, after completing a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree, you will need to go through the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

Analytical approach – Which level of education do you need?

An Associate Degree Program lasts two years and it gives you enough knowledge, credentials and training to work as a registered nurse. Most programs focus on preparing you for general nursing work in the field of medicine, but you might be able to branch out in other fields like pharmacology, psychiatric nursing, health maintenance, and patient care management. With an associate’s degree in nursing, you can work as a registered nurse in the neonatal ward, usually in Level I or Level II. It is a very good start for nurses who do not meet the necessary educational background to be registered nurses, or registered nurses who wish to branch out in different fields.

A bachelor’s degree offers a higher level of training, education and knowledge for prospective neonatal nurses. Most bachelor’s degree programs offer courses in nursing theory, but they also offer hands on experience via hands-on training in clinics and in classroom practices. After getting the bachelor’s degree in nursing, you need to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse, after which you are eligible to work as staff in a neonatal nursing ward or department in hospitals and health centers. It is better to get a bachelor’s degree rather than an associate’s degree in nursing if you wish to pursue a career in neonatal nursing, as it gives you the educational background to continue on to graduate level in neonatal nursing.

Pursuing a graduate degree means you will get coursework specialized in neonatal nursing. Many hospitals and health centers offer their neonatal nursing staff opportunity and, in some cases, financial aid to complete their studies to move forward in their career as neonatal nurses. You can become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, or reach the highest level of Doctor of Nursing Practice. These two programs are highly advanced, and will help you improve your clinical skills, however, this does not mean that you need to abandon your work – there are plenty of programs that need only minimum attendance, and plenty of online courses to allow you to keep working as you’re pursuing your degree. After finishing these two highly advanced programs, you are eligible to work in Level III and Level IV neonatal wards, the wards that house the infants that need the most specialized care and are in extremely critical conditions. Another benefit of getting becoming a NNP or DNP is the fact that you can branch out in administrative work in these wards, and advance further in the field.

Another way to become a NNP – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner is if you already have a Master of Science in Nursing. You can use this background to attend a post-master’s program and get a certificate in neonatal nursing and become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

Registered nurses who have worked in the neonatal field can get neonatal nursing certificated from the National Certification Corporation, if they have a background of 2000 hours of experience. In order to enter a higher degree program, you need to have at least two years of experience in order to be eligible. After getting the degree, you will be able to take the NCC certification exam to be a licensed Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. The courses in these programs teach embryology, neonatal physiology, pathology, and pharmacology, in order to prepare you for clinical work in specialized infant care. These programs usually take about two years to complete, so you need to be prepared to dedicate the time and effort, if you wish to have a neonatal nursing career.

certificationBecoming certified means that you have worked for a longer period in a specialized field and that you have passed an examination, which is important if you want to explore your career in neonatal nursing. Additionally, in order to keep that certification, you will need to show active experience in the field in the manner of education credits, which are usually given to certified nurses by their employers. Getting certified will also give you a kaleidoscope of opportunities to advance your career, and achieve further specializations, especially since taking care of infants who need specialized care has so many different fields, from leadership, family education, education of other staff, as well as become a member or a leader of a research team in advanced neonatal nursing. Some of the most common further specialization certificate offered to neonatal nurses and practitioners include Neonatal Intensive Care, Neonatal Pediatric Transport, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Low Risk Neonatal Nursing, Inpatient Obstetric Nursing, Maternal Newborn Nursing, Electronic Fetal Monitoring and others.

Work Environment of Neonatal Nursing

The work environment of the branch of neonatal nursing by and large depends on the level of the ward the neonatal nurse is assigned to. Level I is where the healthy babies are taken care of, while Level IV has babies which need intensive care, life-support, and post-surgical treatment with advanced technology. Depending on the delivery method, the type of illness to befall the infant, and the level of prematurity of birth, babies are placed in either one of those levels.

This means that the usual working day of a neonatal nurse begins with going over reports from nurses from the previous shifts. A neonatal nurse needs to always be on top of the infant’s medical history, current condition and if there had been any changes, as well as what kind of education has been given to the infant’s family, and whether that needs to undergo changes as well. This requires a high level of concentration, especially if the ward houses a large number of babies. Every infant needs to be constantly monitored: the performance of the heart and the lungs, as well as full physical assessment, and then administer any medications or preparations if such acts are needed. In the higher levels, especially III and IV, a neonatal nurse needs to draw blood for diagnosis, and properly asses the infant’s condition and determine the proper care for the following shift, day, or even week in advance, or, make proper changes to a previous plan according to new readings and results from previous examinations of the infant.

The neonatal nurse also needs to be able to properly educate the members of the infant’s family, especially the infant’s parents, and be able to communicate with them in a kind and understanding manner. It requires a lot of patience and concentration, as well as quick thinking and capability to calm the parents down should they panic, something that occurs very often if their infant is in critical condition.

Other responsibilities include attending a delivery in case the newborn needs instant intensive care due to pre-natal complications. Another part of a neonatal nurse’s capabilities and responsibilities will fall under transport of infants in critical conditions from one department to another within the hospital, or within different hospitals (especially since Level II and IV are quite uncommon in community hospitals and small health centers). At the end of the day, the neonatal nurse needs to craft a report for the neonatal nurses coming in the following shift, to enable them to continue where they left off in the care of the infants.

Neonatal nurses need to be able to conduct critical thinking and be very quick at taking critical decisions. An infant’s health changes daily in neonatal wards, and the health status of each baby needs to be constantly updated and monitored. Another important skill is attention to detail, because a neonatal nurse is expected to work with sensitive and high-tech equipment, such as fetal monitoring units, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen administration devices, infant feeding supplies, intravenous catheters, as well as know how to use specialized software that comes along with the advanced technological equipment.

Neonatal nurses also usually take care of more than one infant at a time. Prospective neonatal nurses should be prepared for a fast working environment, and be able to split their attention equally between all of their charges. They also need to be prepared to create a good method of communication with his or her colleagues, and be able to work as a part of a big team that works on keeping the critical infants not only healthy, but alive. It makes for a very fast, very demanding job environment, however, it also makes the work incredibly rewarding. Last, but not least, a neonatal nurse needs to be prepared for infantile death – because advancements in technology can only do so much with the extremely critical cases, cases that are quite often terminal. A neonatal nurse needs to be prepared to maintain composure, be emotionally and psychologically stable and be able to deal with both the good and the bad at the job.

Salary and job outlook of neonatal nursing

salary-icon-3In 2014, the average annual salary of registered nurses was $66,640. This number refers to all nurses, and it is not specialized by fields in which the nurse works. According to the information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minimum annual salary of a registered nurse (RN), not depending on the field he or she is working in, is $45,880. Depending on specialization, hospital, health center and location, a registered nurse can earn up to $98,880 per year. Salaries also rise if the nurse has a higher level of education, especially if they have a masters or a doctorate degree.

Neonatal nurses who have a master’s degree and become NNP’s, have annual salaries that average around $95,350, but this number usually rises if the NNP has a doctorate.

Due to advancements in technology and medicine, the job outlook for the profession and career in neonatal nursing looks very promising, with a growth of 19% for neonatal registered nurses, and an even higher 34% for NNPs. This is also aided by the sad fact that in modern times, one of every eight babies is born prematurely and needs special care to reach toddlerhood and later childhood. The predicted job growth of 34% for neonatal nurse practitioners stems from the fact that most hospitals and employers prefer to hire registered nurses who have at the very least a bachelor’s degree, and who are prepared to advance further into the field, which is what makes it imperative that aspiring neonatal nurses take the time and put in the effort into getting certified.

How to Become an RN: Programs, Salary & Career

What registered nurses do?

If you’ve ever been in a hospital or in any type of healthcare facility, you’ve probably seen and met some nurses there. The ones dressed in scrubs of different color, often walking around or taking notes, records or carrying medication, are registered nurses. Even though they’re not doctors or physicians, they do perform some major duties that are very much important for patients. They cover many of the medical and the administrative roles, take care of patients and educate them about their health conditions. Registered nurses not only cover medical roles, but their duty of offering personal support is of great importance for the patients and their families as well.

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nursing-iconTheir duties consist of :

  • Keeping medical records
  • Administering medication
  • Monitoring patients and their vital signs
  • Setting up plans for patients’ care
  • Consulting with other members of healthcare teams
  • Helping in performance of diagnostic tests
  • Analyzing test results
  • Educating patients
  • Advising the patients about treatments at home

Duties and tasks a registered nurse performs often varies according to the type of patients they work with and the place in which they work. There are different types of nurses, such as :

Neonatology nurses who work with newborn infants that are born with birth defects, infections, surgical problems or prematurity. Neonatal nursing often consists of taking care of the newly born infant during a short period of time, but sometimes can last up to 2 years of taking care of a particular baby.

Intensive and critical care nurses working with critically ill or at risk of deadly illnesses. They work in various healthcare facilities and units such as intensive care unit, trauma unit or coronary care unit. ICU nurses use their extended knowledge to maintain life-support systems of critically ill or dying patients.

Addiction nurses, sometimes called substance abuse nurses keep records and treat patients who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or other substances. Because most of addictions cover both physical and mental addiction, these nurses are trained in both medical field and are trained to emotionally support patients, often performing duties concerning mental health of a patient.

Pediatric nurses assist pediatricians in maintaining medical records of children. This means they keep record of their patient’s height, weight and development. Some of them are responsible for vaccinations and immunizations. They deal with every day injuries or colds, often making final diagnosis of illnesses and injuries.

Aside with the mentioned fields of medicine a registered nurse can work in, there are many other varieties and specialties they can work in and their professions is very diverse. Ranging from working with deadly injured, ill, addicted, old or young patients, registered nursing is one job everyone can find attractive and long-lasting. If you decide to become a registered nurse, first thing you should consider is what kind of nursing do you want to do. After you pick your most interesting nursing profession, you can start building your career as a registered nurse. Completing one of three programs which are offered to finish in order to become RN, brings you into the world of a different side of healthcare professions. Having Master’s, Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing opens the door to great job opportunities, salaries and irreplaceable work experience. After graduation, students sign-up for examination through  National Council of State Boards of Nursing. After that, they must successfully pass NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) exam. So, by either obtaining a nursing diploma or a degree, you will be able to start working as a registered nurse.

Work environment

Depending on the exact field of medicine they work in, registered nurses can be found working in hospitals, physician’s offices, emergency rooms, rehabilitation centers and in many other healthcare facilities. They work in shifts or with no permanent time frame. They’re often required to work overtime, during weekends or in emergency hours, which means their work hours are very unpredictable. Registered nurses most of their time spend on foot, walking, bending and standing. They are obligated to follow strict guidelines and procedures, because they sometimes work with patients who suffer from infectious diseases. In some cases, they may work with hazardous materials and drugs. Registered nurses that work in healthcare facilities that work around the clock, cover 24 hours of work hours, often in shifts, while others that work in nursing homes or schools, work regular business hours.

The most often injuries are related to back pain due to the nature of their work. Long hours of constant walking, transporting tools and maintaining equipment cause back injuries. Also, the danger of getting exposed to radiation or infections may seriously harm nurses’ health.

Responsibilities of a registered nurse also include:

  • Observing a patient’s behavior and the effects of given treatments
  • Diagnosing the disease or infection by analyzing and recognizing symptoms
  • Maintaining patient’s medical history
  • Providing and carrying out medication
  • Keeping records on inventory and supplying it with required medication
  • Providing care in emergency situations
  • Educating nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses
  • Providing emotional support to patients and members of their families when needed
  • Cooperating with doctors and physicians in coordination of health treatment plans of patients

Other duties they are expected to perform are:

  • Maintaining environment of patients rooms, keeping everything clean and sanitary
  • Preparing beds and rooms by decontaminating equipment
  • Preparing patients for examinations
  • Recommending medication or other treatments to patients, such as physical therapy, rehabilitation options or inhalation treatments
  • Assisting doctors and surgeons during surgical procedures

If you’re looking to become a registered nurse, you may prepare yourself for long working hours and busy weekends and holidays as well. You will be expected to always perform your duties in high quality manner and to be both physically and emotionally stable. Your ability to perform and do your work will influence your earned experience and even your salary. Through hard work, you can progress in this occupation and continue to improve your qualities and job curriculum.

How to become a registered nurse?

First of all, as a perfect candidate, you must possess some important skills and abilities in order to pass strict procedures of enrolling in any program or licensing exam. As an aspiring student, you will be required to hold or improve some qualities that are needed in this occupation.

Skills and qualities

Some of the most important skills and qualities include:

  • Communication skills – a registered nurse-to-be must possess good communication skills. They are required to communicate properly and effectively with patients. RN’s need to be able to thoroughly explain certain procedures to patients, such as information regarding surgeries, medication and therapies. In addition, they must possess great teamwork skills in order to perform their duties perfectly with other members of health care team.
  • Empathy – Compassion plays a vital role in some fields of medical profession. Patients that are in intensive care units often require emotional support during their treatments. Some cases of treating patients may influence nurses’ emotional stability, so a good registered nurse must learn how to control emotions and provide support when needed.
  • Organizational skills – Registered nurses often work with a great number of patients which means they are required to maintain organization with lots of different medical records, medication and treatment details. It is of great importance that a registered nurse is able to perform simultaneously many different duties at once.
  • Great physical stamina – due to often moving, walking and bending, registered nurse must have good physical health. Endurance is required for performing tasks that demand physical strength and stamina.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Registered Nurse?

It is commonly known and widely accepted that healthcare and medicine are indisputably one of the most important areas of human activity overall. Since healthcare workers help us maintain our general body as well as mental health, it is easy to conclude why this area is so essential.

When it comes to the area of healthcare and the working occupations related to it, first ones that come to minds of the majority of people are a doctor, and of course, a registered nurse. Therefore, this article aims to determine how long it takes to obtain all the skills and the educational level required for the one who desires to become a registered nurse.

The official title of this noble position, according to various articles, such as the following one: is a registered nurse (medical practice). According to the article, nurses need to have various skills, such as being polite and approachable and to have broad knowledge in the field of healthcare and medicine.

When it comes to how long it takes to become a registered nurse, it depends on the type of education, which lasts approximately for two to four years, if an undergraduate level is at stake. In addition, to become a registered nurse, one also has to complete a training program that lasts for one year.

Education and training

As mentioned before, there are three ways of becoming a registered nurse. Bachelor’s, Associate’s degree or diploma of an approved nursing program.

  • Associate’s Degree – these programs require around 2 years of college academic credit. Associate’s degree programs are offered in many community colleges or private vocational schools. Some of the courses that you will be required to complete are: anatomy, biology, physiology and nutrition. In addition to nursing classes, you may be required to complete social sciences, humanities or communication classes. Completing an Associate’s degree consists of clinical rotations and nursing classes because it blends hands-on training with class work.
  • Bachelor’s Degree – opposing to a 2-year duration of an Associate’s degree completion, Bachelor’s requires 4 years of college academic credit. These programs are offered in colleges and universities. This program includes additional training and more detailed knowledge gained during studies. Program incorporates both coursework and clinical classes. In addition to general nursing classes, this program may include classes in health assessment, public and global health and emergency care.
  • Diploma from an accredited nursing program – these programs are hospital-based courses that provide hands-on training together with nursing coursework. Even though this way of becoming a registered nurse is less wanted due to the fact that it provides no degree after completion, it is still one of the ways of gaining your RN recognition. This program provides students with general knowledge of basic nursing care, which means they are required to complete some side classes as well.

License and certification

certificationIn all of the US, District of Columbia and other US territories, registered nurses are required to obtain a nursing license. That means that after graduation from any of the accredited nursing programs, RN’s have to successfully pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Even though this exam is required in all US states, other requirements for licensing may vary from state to state. In order to inform yourself of mandatory requirements to get your licensure, you should gather info from National Council of State Boards of Nursing. This licensing examination has a purpose of establishing if you’re safe to begin your registered nurse career as an entry-level RN. Students are required to answer from 75-265 questions with a maximum of 6 hours to complete your exam.

Even though earning a certificate is voluntary, licensed registered nurses often apply for certification in specific fields of nursing, such as neonatology, gerontology, pediatrics or ambulatory care. Those who wish to pursue a certain career path, enrolls in certificate training programs to ensure that their knowledge and skills adhere to a higher standard. It is a great bonus for any employer who wishes to hire specific registered nurses. Some of the most common coursework in a certificate program includes classes in: anatomy, physiology, medical-surgical nursing, nutrition and specialized needs nursing. Clinical classes and nursing classes vary, depending on the direction of nursing occupation a students wishes to obtain. If you wish to pursue nursing career in Maternal Newborn Nursing, Acute Care Nursing, Pediatric Primary Care Nursing or any other type of nursing occupation, you will want to obtain an accredited certificate in order to specialize in that particular practice.


petition_icon_large_red (1)Once you decide whether you wish to pursue a 2-year Associate’s degree, 4-year Bachelor’s degree or obtain a nursing diploma, you should consider all advantages or disadvantages a certain program holds. Include your time management, tuition fees of any program, mandatory requirements and the availability of program you wish to enroll in. Take your time and choose carefully, because this type of career demands more than 2 years of your life to only gain access to the job outlook of registered nurse practice. When you successfully complete accredited program, getting a certificate in a particular specialty gives you better job opportunities and fulfills your job curriculum. Even though licensed registered nurses already have great prospects for future employment, those with additional credentials and certification start their career with better salary and work conditions. Registered nursing is a very promising career which demands a lot, but also provides plenty. Enrolling in such a career takes time and strength, but once you complete all the requirements, you can begin with building up your profession of nursing in any way possible.


Icon_salaryAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for registered nurses was around $67,490 in May, 2015. The lowest 10$ of registered nurses earned less than $46,360, while the highest ranking 10$ registered nurses earned approximately $101,603 per year. The top industries in which registered nurses worked in report median annual wages as follows:


-Hospitals (local, state, private)…………………$69,510

-Home healthcare services……………………….$63,840

-Physician’s offices…………………………………..$60,820

-Nursing care facilities……………………………..$60,370

Salary numbers often vary and depend on the level of degree, experience and type of employer. Registered nurses with Bachelor’s degree earn more than RN’s with Associate’s or a diploma.  According to, registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, earn around $60,404 annually, while registered nurses with Associate’s Degree in Nursing earn approximately $58,486 per year. Hourly rate of a registered nurse varies between $20,80 – $38,52.

  • Experience is also a vital component of payment in this occupation.Entry-level registered nurses earn around $53,000 with up to 5 years of experience, RNs with 5-10 years of experience have a salary of $60,000 per year, experienced registered nurses with 10-20 working years earn median annual wage of $65,000 and RNs in their late career with over 20 years of work experience earn around $68,000.
  • Location also is included as an important factor of registered nurses salary. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that top paying states for this occupation are: California with $90,860 annual median wage, Massachusetts with $86,810 annual median wage, Hawaii with $83,950 median annual wage, Alaska with $82,080 median annual wage and Nevada with $77,840 median annual wage. Top paying Metropolitan areas are all in California and those are: Vallejo-Fairfield, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Oakland-Fremont-Hayward and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City.
  • Type of employer and industries are one such factor that salary of a registered nurse depends of. Top paying industries for this occupation are: Personal Care Services with $85,940 median annual wage, Lessors of Real Estate with $81,850 median annual wage, Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage with $81,090 median annual wage and Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing with $80,290 median annual wage.

So, according to statistics, there are various factor that include your salary’s numbers and hourly wages. Ranging from the type of degree you mastered, experience gained while working and the industry in which you work, payment significantly differs. Once you begin working as a registered nurse, you can already influence on your beginner’s salary if you have a higher level of education, such as Bachelor’s degree. If you’re more experienced in this occupation, that also adds to the bonus and if your employer is one of the top paying ones for this occupation, that is additional beneficial factor. Needless to say, there are many bonuses and benefits to your salary which you gain throughout your career.

Job outlook

Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment for this occupation is projected to grow by 16% from 2014 to 2024 which is considered much faster growth than the average for all occupations. Since the number of aging population is slowly but steadily increasing, the demand for health care services is also on the rise.

There will be more patients with chronic diseases like dementia, diabetes, heart conditions and similar, which will require a larger number of registered nurses. Also, the increased emphasis on preventive care needs more educated staff including registered nurses who teach and educate other member of healthcare occupations and patients as well on how to maintain and live a healthy life. Growing population with obesity problems also require registered nurses for leading and encouraging diet treatments. Baby-boom population is in need of many registered nurses with experience in pediatrics and neonatal care, which is an additional reason for major outlook increase. Constant increase in physicians, surgeons and other medical practitioners require high quality registered nurses who will help them perform important tasks, treatments and surgeries. Because of the federal health insurance reform, more people will be given health insurance and will have access to primary and preventive care services which means more registered nurses will be required in physician’s offices, clinics and other similar healthcare settings.

The number of employed registered nurses in 2014 was approximately 2,751,000 and projected employment number by 2024 will grow to 3,190,300. To summarize the collected information and data, job prospects for RNs is looking good.

Aspiring RNs with higher levels of degree will have better job opportunities due to the fact that employers often look for Bachelor’s degrees as opposing to diplomas or Associate’s degree. Work experience only adds to the fact that RNs with many working hours behind them more easily become candidates for employment as well.

Choosing a registered nurse career brings you lots of diversity in work environments and different types of patients. It allows you to find a perfect working place and industry you wish to pursue your career in. Once you gain a degree or a diploma, you may want to consider improving your knowledge by earning a certificate in any specialty of this occupation. Starting from being a RN can lead to becoming charge nurse, certified Acute care nurse or any other promising career type of this occupation. It is important to spend your valuable time of studying for RN on the best programs and courses, collecting working hours and soon enough you will be watching your salary increase and your career progress at a fast pace. Although it takes years to accomplish registered nurse status, sometimes even up to 7 years, once you earn your license and successfully pass licensing examination, you will be able to choose anything you want and how you want it. Entry-level salary looks very good, imagine then how much you can increase it when you get more experienced in time. The most important thing before you enroll in this career, is deciding at what degree you want to start working and how much time are you ready to give for pursuing a RN career.


What Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Do

Within the field of nursing there are a number of titles which helps to differentiate employment levels, staff and responsibility; some of them include Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). The LVPs and LPNs do not work individually but work under doctors and RNs. RNs and doctors usually determine courses of patient care while the job of LPN/LVNs is to help patients carry out these instructions. This is different from other nursing jobs because you will not be required to have a college degree, but you should however get trained from a certified school.

LPN/LVN should always be friendly, responsible and willing to help people. The only difference between Licensed Practical Nurse and Licensed Vocational Nurse is the name because LVN is used in Texas and California and LPN is used in other parts of the United States. If you are interested in the medical field then becoming a LVN/LPN can be a good idea because it usually takes 13 months and is less expensive as compared to becoming an RN. Once you become a LVN/LPN, you can work with nurses and doctors or you can even pursue something further.

These caregivers have the chance of interacting with patient on a regular basis and provide basic nursing care. The duties and responsibilities of LPN/LVN usually vary depending on the work setting, but some common duties that licensed practical and vocational nurses do include:

  • They provide basic patient care like inserting catheters, changing bandages etc.
  • Monitoring health of patients which includes checking their blood pressure.
  • Keep health records of patients
  • Ensure patients have basic comfort such as help them to dress or bath.
  • Discuss with patients about the care they are providing and taking note of their concerns.
  • Report the patients’ concerns and status to doctor and Registered Nurses.

Keep in mind that their duties might vary depending on the state they are working for and their work setting. For instance, they might support teaching done by RN concerning the way family members are supposed to take care of their relatives like; feeding, help deliver and care for infants; carry out laboratory tests and collect samples for testing; or help in feeding patients. However, LPN/LVN might be limited to doing some tasks and this depends on the state in which they work. Some states allow LPN/LVNs to start intravenous (IV) drip or to give medications but other states don’t allow them to perform such tasks. The regulations of different states manage or control the way LPN/LVNs should be supervised e.g. LPN/LVNs might be allowed to provide some form of care only if they are instructed by a doctor or RN. Other states allow experienced LPN/LVNs to direct and supervise other LPN/LVNs or any unlicensed medical staff.

Work Environment

icon-hcp-nurse-patient-newMost LPN/LVNs work in physicians’ offices, surgical or general care hospitals, home health care facilities, nursing care facilities as well as community care facilities for the elderly. Other places they can also work include blood banks, correctional facilities, outpatient clinics, psychiatric hospitals and dialysis centers. LPN/LVNs are required to be on their feet most of their times when they are with patients because they might have to lift or move patient who find it difficult to sit, stand, walk or move in bed. Most LPN/LVNs usually work in shift during the holidays, weekends or nights because they must provide medical care to patients at all hours. This may require one to work in shifts for more than 8 hours.

According to the research done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries that employed most LPN/LVN in the year 2014 included 7% in the government, 11% in home healthcare services, 13% in offices of physicians, 17% in local, private or state hospitals and 38% in nursing and residential care facilities. This means that after one has graduated and obtained his/her licensure then they are ready to start working as LPN/LVNs. There are many programs which provide career support to people who are looking for LPN/LVNs jobs in certain areas. For you to stand out and get employed easily then you need to create an appealing resume and upload it on LinkedIn or any other career websites that can help you get the job of your dreams. With experience, LVN/LPN can advance to other healthcare occupation or to supervisory position. For example, you can complete an RN education and become a Registered Nurse.

Popular Career Options

Depending on the type of program that a scholar chooses, successful graduates can pursue clinical responsibilities such as nurse practitioners or they can alternatively practice specialty roles such as a teacher or even an administrator. Some of the potential job titles in this particular career pool include the following:

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  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse midwife
  • Health systems manager
  • Public health nurse 


A while back the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,) had forecasted that advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and even nurse midwives would observe a job growth of about thirty percent from the years 2014 up to 2024. Last year as of May 2015, this government body published reports that stated that the median yearly wages for these nurses were as follows:

  • Nurse midwife: > $92,000
  • Nurse practitioner: > $98,000
  • Nurse anesthetist: > $157,000

How to Become a Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

In contrast to other nursing jobs, licensed vocational and licensed practical nurses do not have an obligation to hold a college or university degree. Nonetheless, training is essential from a certified institution, resulting in a postsecondary, non-degree credit.

Whenever a person decides to become a RN (registered nurse) sometime in the future, they’ll need to acquire either an associate’s i.e. LPN-to-RN, or a normal bachelor’s degree i.e. LP-to-BSN; however, the LPN training will add up as credit with regard to your bachelor’s degree. The educational program of becoming LPNs/LVPs is commonly found in community colleges and technical schools, some of them are also available in hospitals and high school. The classroom learning subjects to be taught in the practical nursing programs include pharmacology, nursing and biology. You can find a brief description of each option below.

Associate’s Degree Programs

Supposing you are fascinated about advancing your profession and becoming a registered nurse, you should reflect on the probability of enrolling in an LPN-to-RN curriculum. An associate’s degree in nursing takes account of the following courses, nursing, anatomy, chemistry, nutrition, microbiology, just to mention a few. Acquiring an associate’s degree from scratch generally takes about 2 to 3 three years, but if one has LPN or LVN course credits, he or she can, as a rule, acquire the degree in a shorter period of time. 

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Supposing you are an LVN or LPN who is determined to become a registered nurse, you have a choice to sign up for an LPN-to-BSN course which is devised purposely for LPNs and usually take about 3 academic years. Institute offering these programs have a propensity to concentrate on nursing classes where learners are educated on better leadership and management skills.

Once a scholar has enrolled for the master’s degree, core subjects in an MSN program lay emphasis on nursing ethics as well as research. Students then study courses to advance their patient care skillfulness. Courses may include:

  • Patient diagnosis
  • Advanced nursing theory
  • Illness prevention
  • Prenatal care or primary family care
  • Pharmacology
  • Path physiology 

What certification will I need?

Subsequent to completion of the degree program, one will have to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). With the aim of sitting for the exam, one will have to submit an application for a nursing license from the state board of nursing (this depends on which state you come from). In view of the fact, that each state has diverse eligibility criteria, you will be required to verify with your state board to make sure that you have met the mandatory requirements in order to sit for the examination.

The National Council Licensure Examination covers 4 categories of needs; this is in accordance with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing:

  • Secure, effective care atmosphere: Management care, infection control and safety measures
  • Psychosocial reliability: Dealing and adapting to psychologically related medical issues
  • Matters concerning health endorsements and preservation: Growth and development during the life span, early detection and prevention of diseases
  • Reliability in matters of physiology; offering basic car, pharmacological, comfort, and parental therapies, physiological adaptation, and diminution of risk potential.

Prospects to Be Learnt In These Courses

LVN/LPN training courses normally cover general medical issues. In addition to that, you have the opportunity to have hands on lessons in a clinical work setting.

Typical courses include:

  • Basic nursing
  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Nutrition
  • Emergency care
  • Medical-surgical nursing
  • Obstetric nursing
  • Pediatric nursing

Program Durations

By and large, the majority of LVN/LPN programs take about one full academic year, nevertheless, others can be done in a shorter time span like as seven months; on the other hand, some program may take more than two years, therefore when selecting any program, it would be useful to take your time to be able to properly select the type of program that will always support your schedule.

Programs Being offered Online

Several vocational institutions as well as different community colleges offer both LPN and LVN programs; o many of them have extended these educational services on the internet. Prior to enrollment is vital to consider the possibility that you will almost certainly do your clinical work at a local hospital. For this to happen, the medical school or institution should be in coordination with the hospital. 

Cost of LPN/LVN Programs

Tuition fees charged on average for studying LPN/LVN programs normally lies around $2,000. There is also the existence of financial grants and financial aid for justified students offered by various schools. This makes it easier for prospect student to pay for their education.

Supposing one decides to become a registered nurse future or even go back to earn that bachelor’s degree, many institutions will offer to give you your credit for use in your LPN coursework; thus ultimately cutting you some slack as well as time. Furthermore, if you have accumulated some LVN/LPN vocation experience, some institutions will permit you to experiment out of certain classes, thus saving you some money.

Program Prerequisites

LVN/LPN programs being offered at vocational schools and community colleges oblige applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification. A number of institution and programs will also require applicants to pass an entrance assessment examination; consequently it’s an excellent initiative to validate this when tendering your applications for any of these programs.

Program Accreditation

Accreditation is a textbook technique used parents and students alike to discern if a program meets the nationally-acknowledged nursing education criteria. Autonomous accrediting institutions normally register learning institutions once they have undergone a thorough application procedure. For the reason that these institutions are always updated on matters concerning the health departments and state governments; they recognize whether an institution or program presents the crucial training to an LVN/LPN learner in their respective state.

Important for students, accreditation can assist with both grant as well as financial aid eligibility. Acquiring a degree at one endorsed school also permits a scholar to pursue further education at supplementary accredited institutions. In addition, whenever you relocate to a different state, having done your training at an accredited school, you will be at ease whenever you want to get a new license.

Note: Accreditation is neither acquired nor maintained in perpetuity; they are customarily bestowed for a definite amount of time, typically between five and ten years, and are specific for each institution. It’s a competent initiative to verify with your prospective program provider concerning the length of their accreditation.

Major Accrediting Bodies

  • In the U.S for example, the ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing), formerly known as NLNAC, accredits the entire continuum of nursing programs, be it associate’s degree, bachelor’s , diploma, and also the master’s)
  • The CCNE (Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education), accredits both the bachelor’s as well as master’s nursing programs

It is imperative to draw attention to the fact that the CCNE does not accredit or certify both LVN and LPN programs. For this reason, you will be compelled to search for programs that come with a seal of endorsement from the NLNAC.

To summarize this context, you should understand that the State boards of nursing endorse institutions in order to prepare the students for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). Be that as it may, the state board consent does not automatically equal institution accreditation from any of other national associations. At the same time, most accredited institutions are state board-approved, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a time-wasting initiative to check.

Non-accredited schools

Supposing you are considering the perspective of attending a non-accredited institution, even though it may be state board-approved, there are possibilities of a number of drawbacks to occur. This is because, even though you can still do the NCLEX, your nursing career may stall, especially if you are in the quest of furthering your education. In general, edification from a non-accredited institution does not accredit students to attend other accredited institutions.

Training Programs

Why You Should Consider Additional Training

training-iconCompletion of LVN and LPN training, receiving your license and entering the workforce is among the techniques used to explore the career pool of nursing. When one is starting their career in nursing, a shorter investment in both time and money will be required for an entry-level vocational or practical nurse training as a RN. After a while, once you have gotten used to some of their nursing roles, LVN/LPNs may perhaps choose to seek after advanced education and training, for instance, a nursing degree at the bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree level. Both these study options commonly offer wider employment prospects and improved earning potential. 


Depending on the type of institution a student will decide to pursue, LVN/LPN programs culminate in the following disciplines; certificate, a diploma, or associate’s/bachelor’ degree. Each of these disciplines offers a specific focus, and students should reflect on their career aspiration prior to selecting a program.

Diploma or Certificate Associate Degree
Curriculum focal point



Duration of Program







Career-focused tuition limited to LVN/LPN proficiency and familiarity


9-18 months



Swift access to the national workforce; training usually provided by professionals in the discipline

A number of employers may have a preference of hiring aspirants with a degree and these certificates usually won’t transfer over to other institutes should the student decide to pursue further studies


Supplements LVN/LPN coursework with broad-spectrum education programs


18-24 months



More resourceful scholarly credential; credits may reassign toward a bachelor’s degree


Longer time liability; admissions procedure may be slightly more thorough


Tools and Technology in the Field

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses utilize an assortment of different supplies and technologies in their typical workday. Examples could comprise specialty items utilized to monitor patients or administer medication as well as specific computer programs for recording information and remarks.

The medical kits and technology used by LVN/LPNs can be classified into the following categories:

Medical Tools for Treatment


Intravenous Therapy Supplies , Needles  & Nebulizers
Diagnostic Tools Thermometer, Pulse Oximeter & Spirometer,


Computer Hardware           Handheld Desktop Computers, Notebook  or Tablets


Computer Software Medic Ware, Microsoft Office Suite, triage software, scheduling software,


Qualities of LVN/LPN

Some of the important qualities Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse should possess include:

  • Detail oriented and responsible: LPN/LVNs are required to be detail oriented and responsible as it will help them to give their patients proper care at the right time.
  • Compassion: LPN/LVNs need to be caring and empathetic towards patients and the people they serve.
  • Patients: It might be stressful to deal with injured or sick people but as a LVNs/LPNs, you should be patient and know how to deal with these kinds of stresses.
  • Speaking skills: LPN/LVNs should be able to communicate freely and effectively e.g. pass on concerns of the patient to a Registered Nurse.
  • Interpersonal Skills: LPN/LVNs need good interpersonal skills because they always interact with patients, RN and other healthcare providers.
  • Physical stamina: LPN/LVNs need to be relaxed and comfortable when performing physical activities. For example, they might be required to bend over their patients for a given time period.

Salary for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses 

salary-icon-3The median annual salary for LPN/LVNs was $43,170 in May 2015. The median salary can be defined as the wage where half workers in a given occupation les that that amount and half earned more. The highest ten percent got paid more than $59,510 and lowest ten percent got paid less than $32,040. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of LPN/LVNs in May 2015, in the top industries they worked for was as follows: $39,010-offices of physicians, $42,010-local, private and state hospitals, $44,060-home healthcare services, $44,330-nursing and residential care facilities and $44,550-government.

Most LPN/LVNs work full time but according to research in 2014 by the US Bureau of Labor statistics, 1 in 5 worked part-time.

Job Outlook

Employment of LPN/LVNs is projected to grow 16% from 2014 to 2024; this is more rapid than the average for all careers. As this “infant-escalation” population matures, there’s universal necessity for healthcare services; and such services are expected to increase. LVNs and LPNs will be required in residential care amenities and in home health situations to tend to older patients.

A scarcity of registered nurses in some regions has brought about a state of affairs where LVNs as and LPNs are required to fill in on other nursing duties that are normally outside their usual scope. Certain business reports hint that many practical nurses are projected to retire soon thus giving opportunity for young LVNs and LPNs. A budding populace of elderly citizens requires extra number of professionals operating in long-term health care amenities.

Medical Careers Related to LPN/LVNs

Although working as an LVN/LPN can be a fulfilling career, a number of nurses might still be interested in searching for other healthcare-related careers. Below are some of the common occupations LVN/LPN might be interested in including their educational requirements, expected job growth and average salaries:

  • Certified Nurse Assistant: It is a medical career where the educational and training requirement is a postsecondary training and the expected job growth is 21% and the average salary is approximately $26,250
  • Medical Assistant: It is a medical career where the education and training requirement is a postsecondary training and the expected job growth is 29% and the average salary is approximately $31,220
  • Surgical Technologist: It is a medical career where the educational and training required is an associate degree in surgical technology or a postsecondary certificate. The expected job growth and the average salary is approximately $45,010.
  • Neonatal Nurse: This is another medical career where the educational and training required is a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or diploma; certification in neonatal car is optional. The expected job growth is 19% and average salary is approximately $60,000.
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: It is a medical career where the education and training required is a bachelor’s or an associate degree in sonography. The expected job growth is 39% and the average salary is approximately $68,390.
  • Registered Nurse: It is a medical career where the education and training required is an associate degree or diploma in nursing; most employers may prefer those who have pursued bachelor’s degree in nursing. The expected job growth is 19% and average salary is approximately $69,790.
  • Nurse Practitioner: This is a medical career where the educational and training requirement is a master’s degree. The expected job growth is 31% and average salary is approximately $97,900.
  • Physical Therapy Assistant: This is a medical career where the education and training required is an associate degree from a certified institution. The expected job growth is 41% and the average salary is approximately $45,330.