Types of Nurses

There are only three types of nurses specifically educated and trained to provide nursing care. They are classified under the title "nurse" as follows: Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN) and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) which includes Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and, though not recognized in Florida, but in many other states, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Licensed Practical Nurses can work in all healthcare settings. In addition to the duties Home Health Aides and Nursing Assistant / Patient Care Assistant can do, a Licensed Practical Nurse is able to:
  • Change bandages
  • Give medicine
  • Teach patients
  • Document patient condition, treatments and changes
  • Supervise Home Health Aides, Patient Care Assistants and Nursing Assistants.

To become a Licensed Practical Nurse you MUST:

  • Complete a 1 year training course
  • Pass the NCLEX-PN test to practice in the state of Florida
  • Includes training in:
    • Anatomy
    • Physiology
    • Nutrition
    • First-aid
    • Basic nursing
    • Clinical experience

Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses can work in all healthcare settings. In addition to the duties of a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurses are able to:
  • Give therapeutic treatments
  • Give intravenous medications
  • Supervise Licensed Practical Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Patient Care Assistants and Home Health Aides.
  • Perform a physical assessment

To become a Registered Nurse you MUST:

  • Complete an Associate Degree in Nursing at a community college (two years) or Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing at a university (four years).
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN test to practice in the state of Florida
  • Includes training in:
    • Anatomy
    • Physiology
    • Nutrition
    • First-aid
    • Basic nursing
  • Clinical experience

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)

ARNPs can work in all healthcare settings and may have the title of Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Though not recognized in the State of Florida, in many states the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) also is licensed as an ARNP.  
In addition to the duties a Registered Nurse can do, the Nurse Practitioner is able to:
  • Be a primary health care provider
  • Take a patient history
  • Do physical examinations
  • Prescribe medicine
  • Order and read tests
  • Care for women who are pregnant
  • Provide family planning

To be a Nurse Practitioner in the State of Florida you MUST:

  • Have a current RN license and
  • Graduate from a Master's Program for Nurse Practitioners

 

Florida Area Health Education Network. (n.d.). Florida Health Careers. Retrieved February 14, 2004, from http://www.flahec.org/hlthcareers/

ARNPs may specialize in:
  • Geriatrics (care of the elderly)
  • Pediatrics (care of children)
  • Psychiatry (care of the mentally ill)
  • School health (care of school children)
  • Neonatology (care of premature babies)
  • Midwifery (care of pregnant and birthing women)
  • Anesthesiology (care of patients getting anesthesia
  • Education
  • Research
  • Case management

Home Health Aide (HHA)

Home Health Aides work in homes giving care and assistance. They are not nurses but are able to help people with:
  • Bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Moving from bed to chair
  • Housekeeping
  • Running errands
  • Getting to the store or to doctor's appointments
  • Remembering that it is time to take their medicine
  • Taking blood pressure, temperature, pulse, breathing

You may become a Home Health Aide by:

  • Training at a home health agency
  • Attending a community college that offers a 2-3 week program
  • There is no state exam
  • No license is required

Nursing Assistant/Patient Care Assistant (NA/PCAs)

Nursing assistants may work in healthcare facilities as well as in the home. They also are not nurses, but assist in providing nursing care. In addition to the things Home Health Aides do, the Nursing Assistant / Patient Care Assistant is able to:
  • Help with physical therapy exercises
  • Assist nurses

To become a Nursing Assistant / Patient Care Assistant you MUST be at least 16 years old and:

  • Complete 120 hours of training, including 40 hours of clinical experience.
    Pass a skills and a written test to be certified by the Florida Nursing Assistant Registry.

(You must be certified to work in a nursing home in Florida. Other health care facilities such as hospitals may, or may not, require that you be certified.)

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