Woodbury, Minn (PRWEB) June 15, 2012
The health care sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and where jobs seem to be plentiful. But the choices of career options can sometimes be confusing. In this white paper--by industry expert and Globe University's dean of nursing programs--Faye Uppman helps clarify the differences between three of the most sought after health care careers.
The term “nurse” has mistakenly become a title given to many professionals assisting and caring for patients in the medical domain. An individual receives health care from many specialists who in fact uphold very different duties specific to his or her area of expertise. The differences between a nurse, nursing assistant and medical assistant are often difficult to distinguish, especially for students interested in medical careers. This article explains these variances along with the state regulations, incomes and educational preparation pertaining to each position.
A graduate from an approved nursing program who has passed a National Council Licensure Examination (the NLCEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) is the only person who may obtain the title of nurse. Within this field, there are licensed and registered nurses, both functioning under a defined scope of practice.
•Licensed practical nurses: Every state has a Nurse Practice Act that details the various areas of the LPN’s practice in provision of care, patient education and care planning. Typically these nurses care for stable patients in acute and chronic care settings and are supervised by registered nurses. In order to become licensed, they must pass the NLCEX-PN in addition to completing a program approved by a state board of nursing.
• Registered nurses: Functioning under a State Nurse Practice Act, RNs provide care in hospitals, long-term care, community, and public health settings. They are prepared at several levels of education: associate, baccalaureate, advanced practice master and doctorate of nursing practice. The scope of practice is based on the education degree. RNs maintain high responsibilities of supervising LNs and unlicensed personnel as well as managing public health and case organization. They also must complete a program approved by a state board of nursing and pass the NLCEX-RN exam to become licensed.
Nursing assistants and medical assistants are frequently mistaken as nurses, but are still highly valued members of the health care team. Both maintain a goal of providing the best direct care to patients.
•Nursing assistants: The process of becoming an NA is very different from the process that nurses must follow. NAs complete a state approved program that is usually 75-96 hours in length as well as passing an exam to be certified and placed on a state registry. The role of a nursing assistant is to provide basic care related to hygiene, nutrition and mobility needs. The nursing assistant is directly supervised by a registered nurse in a hospital, home or long-term care setting.
•Medical assistants: MAs serve the needs of physician employers in clinical settings and are supervised by advanced practice registered nurses. They must complete a course of study in an accredited program, earn an associate degree of applied science and eventually take a certification exam as recommended. They differ from the nursing field mainly because of their administrative duties and role in managing medications, immunizations, blood draws, and clinical procedures.
Naturally, salary ranges for nurses, nursing assistants and medical assistants differ as well. As a general note, PayScale.com provides up-to-date information on the average salaries of these careers in the U.S.
•Nurse: $40,000-80,000 a year (dependent upon licensure type and degree)
•Nursing Assistant: $18,000-$30,000 a year
•Medical Assistant: $20,000-$36,000 a year
The starting salary also plays a large role in distinguishing a graduate student’s career path. Questions like “How much money will I be able to make in my first three years with this profession?” are commonly asked. Calculating the average starting salary is dependent on geographic location, but this tool may be helpful: collegegrad.com/salaries/salaries.shtml
Any professional in the health care business is qualified to perform a wide range of care related responsibilities. However, gaining a better understanding of the differences between each career is essential for anyone interested in the medical world.
About Faye Uppman
Faye Uppman is Globe University’s, Minnesota School of Business and Broadview University’s dean for the schools’ nursing programs. Her expertise in nursing and nursing education spans more than 30 years within public and private institutions. Curriculum and program development has included a state approved health care core curriculum as entry level knowledge for health careers, the creation of a pathway program with practical nursing and associate degree registered nursing outcomes, a Bachelor of Science pre-licensure nursing program, and an online RN to BSN completion program. Uppman has served as co-president of the Minnesota Association of Colleges of Nursing (MACN) and is a member of the Clinical Coordination Project Advisory Committee.
About Globe University
Globe University is part of a premier, family-managed system of career colleges, universities and training centers based in Woodbury, Minn. These specialty skills colleges prepare work-ready professionals for successful careers in a wide range of high-demand fields. Through its mission, We Care, the organization integrates hands-on and career-focused education with service- and applied-learning experiences that expose students to their communities and real-world situations. Programs offer undergraduate, diploma and graduate degrees in a wide range of career fields, including business and accounting, health sciences, legal sciences, technology, creative media and applied arts. More than 30 programs are available online. All academic programs are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). For more information, visit http://www.globeuniversity.edu.