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What are the Different Types of Nurses?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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Some of the various types of nurses include register nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants. Registered nurses typically receive an associate's or bachelor's degree. To become a RN, a nurse must pass a licensing exam. A licensed practical nurse will typically be required to complete a degree training program.

There are various types of nurse training programs that prepare someone for a career in nursing. Most individuals who receive nurse education also become certified. This validation assures that the individual has the competence necessary for nursing.

A certified nurse assistant (CNA) generally assists with patient care, either in a home or at a hospice or other health care facility. The CNA is also referred to as a nurse's aid. These nurses will typically receive instruction and supervision from a registered nurse or physician. A nurse trained as a CNA will generally assist in monitoring patients' vital signs, administering medications, or bathing and dressing tasks. This nurse will report vital information to a supervising staff.

Some types of nurses travel from hospital to hospital to work in different facilities. These projects may require extensive traveling for months at a time. The nurse involved in this line of work is an RN who specializes as a travel nurse. Travel nurses may work in a variety of departments in a hospital, including the pediatric or geriatric departments.

Some registered nurses receive certification that enable them to perform duties as a physician. This type of nurse is called a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is qualified to diagnose patient illnesses and prescribe treatment. This nurse will generally require more extensive training than the RN. Although requirements vary according to location, many hold a master's degree in nursing.

Occupational health nurses often work with physical therapists. This type of nurse will provide care and safety instruction to those in the workplace. Workers who are injured on the job may receive care from an occupational nurse. This nurse is also trained to recognize health risks in the workplace and ways to prevent them from occurring. The occupational nurse is also knowledgeable in environmental health issues.

Dental nurses with a dentist or oral surgeon. The dental nurse assists by ensuring medical equipment is organized and accessible for the dentist's use. Sterilization of equipment may be another requirement of the dental nurse. These nurses are also known as dental hygienists, whose other duties may include dental cleaning of teeth and gums.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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