CVTC Nursing Instructor Renee Christensen explains some of the many options nursing students can pursue by attending one of the technical college’s programs.Nursing Assistant (NA): Must be certified by the state and requires a minimum of 90 training hours. Students take a written and skills-based exam and become qualified to work in long-term care settings at a hospital or clinic, helping patients with many daily activities including physical therapy and rehabilitation. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): Students must take a one-year program (two semesters) plus pass a state board examination. Once finished with school, LPNs can do all of what NAs can do plus administer medications and treatments and provide backup support in education settings. Christensen said most LPNs work in nursing homes overseeing resident care and delegating tasks to NAs. Registered Nurse (RN): A registered nurse can be a person with either a four- or two-year degree who’s passed the state board’s licensing exam. Most have about the same job description and are prepared to work in a hospital, clinic or direct care situation.
They often assess patients and make some clinical decisions. “They can do what we call independent nursing functions,” Christensen said.
She adds that an RN often works with a team, for example with dieticians and therapists, to provide a patient’s care. She said while some two- and four-year degree nursing students might end up in the same job, the ones with a bachelor’s degree can do some teaching and community health duties plus advance into management positions. Beyond RN: Many registered nurses might pursue a master’s degree and become a clinical nurse specialist, who might focus on one area like diabetics, or nurse practitioners, who often help doctors diagnose and treat the less critical cases. Other areas into which RNs can move are nurse midwifery or critical care. Many students keep going for a doctorate degree in nursing, giving them the credentials to teach at a four-year university.
CVTC’s River Falls nursing instructors
A team of seven nurses are charged with educating future nurses living and working within the region: Teresa Ambur of River Falls, Renee Christensen of Hudson, Lynn Erickson of River Falls, Gina Hogan of Woodbury, Minn., Paula McDonald of Hudson, Gayle Murphy of Hudson and Julia Stoffa of River Falls.
Contact CVTC’s River Falls campus at 425-3301.
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