Industry Profiles: 3 Types of Nursing Jobs

3 types of nursing jobsIt’s no secret that health care is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June 2013 that the healthcare industry averaged 24,000 new jobs a month over the last 12 months. And many of those jobs are held by nurses.

But what do some of those nursing jobs look like? What are the salary ranges? Which jobs have greater career potential? Check out these profiles of three different types of nursing jobs. Can you see yourself in this list?

Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants

What you do: Assist patients with basic tasks including eating, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom and moving between beds and wheelchairs; serve meals, change sheets, take vital signs and record patient information. Jobs duties are the same as or similar to patient care technicians.

Your education: High school diploma; post-secondary certificate or award typically offered through hospitals, community colleges, technical schools and nursing homes.

What you make: Median pay in 2010 was $24,010 a year or $11.54 an hour.

Where you work: More than half work in nursing and residential care facilities, while 28% work in hospitals. A small percentage find work in home health care and employment services.

Job scene: Employment of nursing aides, orderlies and attendants is predicted to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations combined. The growing senior population will increase demand for aides in long-term care facilities, hospitals and clinics.

  • Keep in mind: Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants aren’t licensed. However, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree and you’re not ready to commit to an accredited nursing program, this could be a great first step into health care.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

What you do: Provide basic nursing care including monitoring patients’ health, changing bandages, inserting catheters, helping with bathing and dressing, keeping patient records and interacting with patients. The ability to perform certain duties such as administering medication or starting IV drips is regulated by state.

Your education: Accredited certificate in practical nursing typically found in community colleges and technical schools; National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to obtain licensure.

What you make: Median pay in 2010 was $40,380 a year or $19.42 an hour.

Where you work: LPNs and LVNs typically work in nursing care facilities, hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services and senior community care facilities.

Job scene: Jobs for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020; aging baby boomers will require more care from LPNs and LVNs in hospitals, physicians’ offices and residential care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted-living centers.

  • Keep in mind: LPNs and LVNs have more limitations on patient care than a registered nurse (RN) and usually work under the supervision of an RN or a physician.

Registered Nurse (RN)

3 types of nursing jobs nurse with IV bagWhat you do: Serve as an integral member of a patient care team; work closely with physicians and other healthcare staff; provide direct patient care; record medical histories and symptoms; administer medication; operate medical equipment; help perform diagnostic tests; analyze test results; educate patients on health conditions, treatment regimens and care plans.

Your education: Diploma from an approved nursing program, an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to obtain licensure.

What you make: Median pay in 2010 was $64,690 a year or $31.10 an hour.

Where you work: Hospitals, medical offices and clinics, physicians’ offices, home healthcare and nursing care facilities, schools, public health and community organizations, academia, research, correctional facilities and more.

Job scene: Career prospects are highest for registered nurses; the number of RNs is expected to increase 26% from 2010 to 2010, 4% more than LPNs and LVNs; professional nurses with a bachelor’s degree are in especially high demand as patient safety studies show improved outcomes with BSN nurses; Magnet® hospitals are leaning toward the BSN as a minimum requirement for entry-level RN positions. Registered nurses with a BSN can receive additional education to focus on a nursing specialty or become advanced practice nurses (APNs).

  • Keep in mind: When it comes to entry-level nursing jobs, an RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the only person that meets the basic requirements for every position.

At Northeastern, we offer several Boston nursing programs where you can start or grow your career as a nurse. To learn more, contact us.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition: Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses and Registered Nurses.

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