Updated: Oct 18, 2021
In order to achieve your dreams, you have to begin your journey towards them. If you’d like to become a nurse, becoming a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) is an ideal starting point. There are bridge or ladder programs that can even help get you there. After all, working as a CNA offers you the ability to observe what nurses do and gain valuable work experience.
The healthcare community also lets you build upon your experience and skills, sometimes allowing you to accelerate your education depending on your experience. Let’s get you familiar with the nursing ladder and how it progresses.
7 Steps on Your Way to the Successful Career as a Nurse
1st Step – Become a CNA
Certified Nurse’s Aids (CAN) often assist LVN’s and RN’s with patient care, such as monitoring, feeding, bathing, and hygiene.
2nd Step – Become a LVN
Licensed vocational nurses (LVN) work under the supervision of an RN or MD. LVNs may document significant changes in a patient’s condition, perform wound care, administer medications, and other basic nursing tasks. LVNs may also insert IV’s and educate patients. Administer medications, insert IV’s, draw blood, educate patients, and give injections.
3d Step – Become an ADN
A Registered Nurse with an Associate degree holds an Associate degree in Nursing (ADN). These RNs carry out treatment plans ordered by doctors, as well as tasks performed by a CNA or LVN. An RN possesses a technical knowledge of nursing procedures and can work inside or outside a hospital.
4th Step – Become a BSN
A Registered Nurse with a Bachelor’s degree holds a Bachelor’s in Science degree in Nursing (BSN). A BSN receives higher educational training than an ADN, and may have more job opportunities. These RNs carry out treatment plans ordered by doctors, as well as tasks performed by a CNA, LVN, and ADN. An RN possesses a technical knowledge of nursing procedures and can work inside or outside a hospital.
5th Step – Become MSN/MEd/APN
A Registered Nurse with a Master’s degree may hold a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or other two-year advanced nursing degree. Often titled as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), their two year advanced education is focused on a specialty such as education, public health, or healthcare administration.
6th Step – Become a NP
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are also advanced degreed nurses and provide offer services to support primary care physicians. An NP can order and interpret laboratory tests and may opt for an additional license to prescribe medication.
7th Step – Become a DNP/PhD
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (DNP) is a very advanced discipline of nursing science. Doctoral programs offer a broad range of educational topics from research to health policy.