If you’ve ever been to a hospital, you’ve probably come in contact with a nurse or two. These kind (usually) ladies who take care of the patient while they’re being treated.
Nurses are an essential part of the healthcare system and health care in general. As of 2019, there are around 3 million registered nurses in the US alone (more than 3.8 million RNs nationwide in 2020). This only proves the point.
Nurses are like cement that keeps healthcare together.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Who is a nurse?
A nurse is a licensed professional who works closely with patients as a member of the health-care industry.
Nurses are usually met in hospitals or nursing homes, however, their work environment is varied depending on their specialization.
Nurses take care of patients during their treatment. Apart from providing physical and mental support to the patient, they also educate them on ways of treatment, possible outcomes, and risks.
There are many types of nurses, each with different responsibilities, but one thing they have in common is caring for their patients. While a doctor is there to treat the patient, a nurse is there to help the patient to be treated. They support both the patients, as well as doctors.
How much does a Nurse make?
As of May 2020. The median annual wage of a registered nurse was $73,300 a year, which translates to around $35 an hour. This means that half of the nurses earn less, and half more.
10% of nurses who earn the least money make around $47,120/year (2016), and 10% who make the most money earn around $103,000/year (2016).
The salary is dependent on many factors, for instance, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, a nurse who works in a hospital or a clinic earns around $5/hour more than one that works in a nursing home or facility.
Different types of nursing jobs result in different wages.
Types of nurses and their salaries
A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has a nursing diploma or an Associate degree in nursing.
They also need to pass all required exams to become a nurse, including the NCLEX-RN exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Apart from that, they also need to meet all the requirements set by the said institution.
Although you don’t need any more education to become an RN, it has become common to encourage students to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This helps with later licensing and/or expanding the array of qualifications.
Registered nurse’s salary is the one above – $73,300 a year, or $35 an hour.
RN’s responsibilities include general management of care, a well as basic care and comfort regarding their patients.
Health Promotion and Maintenance along with Psychological Integrity are what’s also in the scope of practice according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Psychological Adaptation and Risk reduction are what follows.
Thus, generally speaking, a registered nurse is like a base for becoming a specialized nurse.
An RN can gain expertise in a certain field of nursing – the specialization. There are many specializations available for RNs, like rehabilitation, oncology, geriatric, pediatric, etc.
If a nurse were to complete a degree in their specialization, They’d become an APRN.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
An APRN is a nurse who completes a degree in a specific nursing role as well as gets required certification.
There are 4 roles:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
The key difference is that Advanced practice nurses must hold at least a Master’s degree, whereas Registered nurses need only a nursing diploma, associate’s degree, or preferably – Bachelor’s degree.
An APRN is of higher qualification, thus they have more autonomy when it comes to their scope of practice. For example, they can prescribe and manage therapeutic methods. They can perform primary diagnosis and treat minor conditions and injuries.
The advanced practice registered nurse’s median salary is $115,800 per year, which stands for
$55.67 per hour. This is reasonable, as they are required to have a Master’s degree and hold more responsibilities.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Or a Licensed vocational nurse (LVN) are nurses that are not to be confused with Registered nurses. They are nurses with less autonomy, usually working under the supervision of RN or APRN.
Their scope of practice is more narrow.
A diploma or a certificate is enough to become one, however, if one is to aspire for a registered nurse in the future, it might be better to go with an Associate’s degree instead.
As of 2019, the median annual salary for an LPN is $47,480 which translates to $22.83 per hour. This is much less than RN’s, but becoming LPN requires less education and the responsibilities are more limited.
Certified Nurse Assistant
A CNA works under the supervision of LPN, Rn, or APRN. Usually, nurse assistants hold a high school diploma, followed by a certification from a CNA certification program. They also need to pass the state’s competency exam after all.
Their scope of practice is very limited and usually restricted to providing patients with basic care needs, daily exercise routines, and transportation.
A Nursing Assistant’s salary is $29,640 per year or $14.25 per hour. This is the least out of all mentioned Nurse Types, but this one is the most basic, does not require much education, and comes with barely any responsibility.
A registered nurse is a professional health care worker who takes care of patients in hospitals or nursing homes. Their salary is around $73,000/year.
RNs can supervise Licensed Vocational Nurses or Certified Nurse Assistants, whose scope of practice is more restricted, but require less education. Those two earn around $41,000/year and $29,000/year respectively.
An Advanced Practise Registered Nurse is one with at least a Master’s degree and is a nurse specialized in a defined role, such as Nurse Anesthetist or a Nurse Midwife. They earn the most, at around $115,000 /year.