RN, NP, CCN? Depending on your interests, these acronyms could mean very little – if you’re working in nursing, these acronyms define some of the potential job outcomes that are possible with the right nursing qualification.
If you’re looking to start a nursing qualification, you may find all the acronyms a little complicated. Let’s dive in and open up some of the common acronyms you’ll see around online nurse practitioner programs in Texas, before diving into two of the most common nursing roles – the role of the Registered Nurse (RN) and the Nursing Practitioner (NP).
Let’s dive into it!
Nursing Qualifications Can Seem Complicated
With the number of acronyms and abbreviations present in nursing job listings, it can sometimes be difficult to identify exactly what a job listing may be looking for. Here are some of the acronyms that you may see listed on a careers website, and what they stand for:
- CCN: Critical Care Nurse. These nurses are trained for emergency services and may work in environments where they may need to monitor life support systems or help manage serious wounds.
- CRNA: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. These nurses specialize in anesthesia – and make up some of the highest-paid nursing roles in the industry.
- ER Nurse: Emergency Room Nurse. These nurses work on the front lines of patient care, working on nursing tasks after patients are processed through intake and assessed by emergency room doctors. A dynamic role, and one that is often popularized through shows such as Chicago Med and ER.
- FNP: Family Nurse Practioner. Specialized role for Nursing Practitioners, specifically trained to work with family units.
- MHN: Mental Health Nurse. These nurses specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological services, and may sometimes have counseling qualifications.
- OR Nurse: Operating Room Nurse, sometimes known as a Perioperative Nurse. A nurse that is specifically trained in the pre and post-operation care of a patient.
This list is by no means exhaustive – there are dozens of acronyms related to nursing roles that one could write about. It’s hoped that this list may help prospective job applicants decode some of the roles listed on job sites such as Indeed – as sometimes finding a role can be a harrowing experience without knowledge of the necessary acronyms.
The Role of Registered Nurses
A Registered Nurse is a healthcare employee who works in a team to provide high-quality patient care. This may involve elements of education, supervision of aides, assisting physicians with procedures and treatment, as well as the accurate and timely record keeping of a patient’s medical history.
RNs typically hold a postsecondary qualification such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In some places, this may be offered as an accelerated course, known as an ABSN. They are also accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing, upon completion of two additional registration tests – the Texas Nursing Jurisprudence Exam, and the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This high level of standard ensures only the best nurses are registered by the board – highlighted by an average salary of nearly $93,000 per year.
Added Responsibilities As A Nursing Practitioner
A Nursing Practitioner holds a higher level of responsibility than a Registered Nurse. Where RNs are typically only able to provide care, working with a team and under the instruction of a senior medical staffer (such as a doctor), an NP has a higher range of authority and responsibility. Holding a Master’s Degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), an NP is a licensed healthcare provider who can provide an advanced level of care.
This can include performing physical examinations, ordering tests, and the provision of medication. The role itself is similar to being a doctor – however, a doctor typically has greater levels of flexibility with the level of care they can provide. If you’re looking for a role where you’d like to take on some more responsibility, opportunities to work as an NP are frequently available across the country.
The Impact of Nursing in an Aging Nation
Many factors impact the role of nurses – from health crises to disasters, any number of events can change the lived experience of a nurse forever. The oncoming aging population looks set to challenge nurses, and place increased demands on a highly regarded profession.
At a population level, the US population is aging. The nation’s largest generation, the Baby Boomers, named after their oversized population influence due to the surge of births in post-war America, will be a minimum of sixty years old next year.
Cited by the Census as the highest rate of population aging in more than a century, this aging nation presents an area of concern. However, what is most challenging is that the aging population is not evenly distributed – Ohio, for example, has a relatively young population, while almost a quarter of Florida’s population is over the age of 60.
As people age, there is an increased need for medical care – depending on the patient, it could be as simple as keeping up with medications to something as complex as joint surgery, in-home care, or palliative care as elderly patients approach the end of their lives. It will be up to hospital administrators to ensure that medical facilities are properly staffed to handle the local needs of their patients.
Nursing – Always in Demand
No matter whether you’re a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, or in a specialized nursing role, there will always be a demand for qualified and knowledgeable applicants in the field. It can often be difficult to find nurses to hire in some areas.
There are many research papers exploring the problem, such as the work done by Haddad, Annamaraju, and Toney-Butler. Their research, published in early 2023, found that some of the key reasons that the nursing profession faced shortages were due to high turnover, a lack of educators, and an imbalance in the distribution of the workforce.
To tackle this problem in the years ahead, it will be imperative for hospital administrators to find ways to entice young nurses into aging hospital systems, while also providing enough incentive to retain some one million registered nurses who are now over the age of fifty.
The challenge for hospital administrators is an opportunity for prospective nurses. If you’re looking to take the next step and leap into a nursing role, there has never been a better moment in time to do so.