If you have already acquired a certificate to become a CNA, or are maybe thinking about enrolling in a training program, you might be wondering where you can go from here. It is good to have high aspirations and to plan for the future, and so you must know where you career choice can take you. Once you are a CNA, you have the foundation of a promising career, and if you work hard and master all the skills of a good CNA, you can start moving ahead very soon.
From CNA to LPN
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work directly under RNs (registered nurses) and their job is to provide patient care, and can also carry our procedures such as drawing blood, administering medication, and performing diagnostic tests, which CNAs cannot. In order to become one, a CNA can enroll in a CNA to LPN program and pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with an individual state licensure exam. Such a program takes about a year to complete, and if you are already a CNA it can significantly improve your chances.
From LPN to RN
An RN is a registered nurse, and with this qualification you can administer treatment plans, maintain reports and records and help perform diagnostic tests and analysis. They can work independently as nurses without supervision. In order to become an RN you can complete a 4 year Bachelor’s degree (BSN) or a 2-3 year Associate’s Degree (ADN), but if you are already an LPN or a CNA, you can save a significant amount of time by enrolling in a LPN to RN or CNA to RN program. You will then also need to pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam to earn your license.
From RN to NP
RNs have the choice of becoming advanced Nurse Practitioners, who have almost the same qualifications, expertise and responsibilities as a traditional family doctor, and they can even have their own private practice without the supervision of a physician. They can perform physical exams, manage care of chronic medical conditions, interpret test results, make diagnosis and even prescribe medications.
To become an NP, one must already hold a bachelor’s degree as well as an RN license in order to get enrolled into a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. It can take 1½ to 3 years to complete, but you can earn a better salary with this license.
It is not a short walk from a CNA to an NP, but it is certainly the first step of what can be a wonderful journey and a fulfilling career, so take the first step and enroll in a CNA training program and begin your journey in the medical field.