There are several levels of education, certification and specialization within the field of nursing. Nursing care is delivered by a range of providers including Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), and Nursing Assistants (NA). Registered nurses (RNs) must graduate from a state-approved school of nursing and pass a national licensing exam. Entry level registered nurses may earn a bachelor's degree, offered by four-year colleges and universities; an associate's degree offered by community colleges (and takes about two years); or a diploma which is offered by three hospital-based programs in North Carolina.
With additional education at the graduate level, a Registered Nurse can also practice in four advanced practice nursing roles: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). Along with direct patient care, nurses can go into research, teaching, or work in nurse management positions. Many of these roles require education at the master's and doctoral level. For more information on the various types of nursing education programs, click here.
Today's nurses work in a variety of environments including hospitals, operating rooms, doctors' offices, nursing homes, public schools, HMOs, birthing centers, rehabilitation facilities, outpatient clinics, public health departments, prisons, pediatric clinics, and private homes. Occupational health nurses provide on-the-job health care at work sites, legal nurse consultants work with lawyers, nurses work in hospice care or as clinical researchers in industries specializing in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology or medical devices. Nurses can continue to learn specialties throughout their careers, making the opportunity for advancement almost limitless. A World of Career Options for NursesTo learn more about nursing, the variety of roles, specialties, and work environments, visit www.ncbon.com/ and www.nchealthcareers.com/.