There are different levels of nursing: CNA, LPN, RN, and NP.
CNA are certified nursing assistant's or nursing technicians. They assist nurses by getting vital signs, changing soiled patients, feeding patients, bathing patients, etc. This requires a two week course and passing a state exam.
LPNs are Licensed Practical Nurses for the sick, injured, convalescent, and disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses. Usually it takes 1-2 years of schooling at a technical or community college.
RNs are Registered Nurses regardless of specialty or work setting, perform basic duties that include treating patients, educating patients and the public about various medical conditions, and providing advice and emotional support to patients’ family members. RNs record patients’ medical histories and symptoms, help to perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation. The three major educational paths to registered nursing are a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, and a diploma from an approved nursing program.
NPs or Advanced Practice Nurses are advanced practice nurses who provide high-quality health care services similar to those of a doctor. NPs diagnose and treat a range of health problems. They have a unique approach and stress both care and cure. Besides clinical care, NPs focus on health promotion, disease prevention, health education and counseling. They help patients make wise health and lifestyle choices. NPs have graduate, advanced education and clinical training beyond their registered nurse preparation. Most have master’s degrees and many have doctorates.