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Online Nursing Degree Programs

Given the increasing need for trained healthcare professionals all across the United States, more and more people are enrolling in online nursing degree programs. However, before enrolling in online nursing degree programs, people should be aware of the different types of nursing programs available.

In the United States, there are essentially four levels of licensure for nursing personnel. There are online nursing degree programs available to educate people at all levels. The higher the level of licensure, the more education required to obtain it, the more procedures a person can perform, the higher the potential pay and the more responsibilities accompanying it.

The first level of licensure available through online nursing degree programs is the certified nursing assistant (CNA). The education to become a CAN usually involves a few weeks of classroom instruction and a couple of months of on-the-job training. CNAs perform very basic patient care and are under the supervision of other nurses. Some of their duties may include: bathing, helping patients move from one area to another, dressing, and taking basic vital signs. Many people obtain CAN certification as a way to enter the nursing profession and then work towards more advanced degrees.

The next level of licensure is licensed practical nurse (LPN). These healthcare professionals are commonly found in hospitals and clinics. Their duties include communicating with patients about doctors orders, administer some medications, start IVs and catheters, report on patient progress and many other duties.

Above an LPN is a registered nurse (RN). RNs can do everything CNAs and LPNs can do plus assist in surgery, monitor medical equipment, supervise other nurses, administer almost all medications and a variety of tasks. To be an RN usually requires a bachelors degree.

The top tier of nursing is advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). To reach this level, nurses must have all the requirements of the other tiers and usually coursework beyond the bachelors degree. At this tier, most nurses have specialized in an area such as geriatrics, pediatrics, psychiatry and so on.

Regardless of the tier they may be on, there is increasing demand for all types of professional health care workers.

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