Employment of licensed practical nurses and registered nurses is expected to grow.
Nursing at a Glance
The Nursing program at Berkeley College offers two areas of study. The Practical Nurse Certificate program prepares students for entry-level positions within the field of nursing. Licensed, experienced LPNs can enroll in the LPN to B.S.N. program, which prepares them for advancement within the healthcare field.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must complete an approved educational program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about one year to complete, but may take longer. Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning with supervised clinical experience.
After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-PN. In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN.
Registered nurses (RNs) typically take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, an Associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. While licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse, some employers — particularly those in hospitals — may require a Bachelor’s degree. In addition, a Bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.
After completing a state-approved educational program, RNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an RN. Other requirements for licensing vary by state.
Licensed practical nurses provide basic nursing care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. Some responsibilities include:
- Monitor patients’ health – for example, by checking their blood pressure
- Administer basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
- Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress
- Discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns
- Report patients’ status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
- Keep records on patients’ health
Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. Some responsibilities include:
- Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
- Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
- Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
- Observe patients and record the observations
- Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
- Operate and monitor medical equipment
- Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
The duties and titles of RNs often depend on where they work. There are many possibilities for working with specific patient groups. Here are just a few examples:
- Addiction nurses care for patients who need help to overcome addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other substances.
- Cardiovascular nurses care for patients with heart disease and people who have had heart surgery.
- Critical care nurses work in intensive-care units in hospitals, providing care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses and injuries that need very close monitoring and treatment.
Outlook for Employment
Employment of licensed practical nurses and registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses held about 719,900 jobs in 2014. Registered nurses held about 2.8 million jobs in 2014.
Industries That Employed the Most Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses in 2014:
- Nursing and residential care facilities – 38%
- Hospitals (state, local, and private) – 17%
- Physician offices – 13%
- Home healthcare services – 11%
- Government – 7%
Industries That Employed the Most Registered Nurses in 2014:
- Hospitals (state, local, and private) – 61%
- Nursing and residential care facilities – 7%
- Physician offices – 7%
- Home healthcare services – 6%
- Government – 6%
Please note that these are national statistics and projections that might vary by location.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm and http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm