Some helpful terms to know when researching nursing careers:

Accelerated BSN - If you’ve already got a college degree, you don’t have to take another four years of college to get a nursing degree. You can build on the general college subjects you’ve already taken by taking nursing courses, and get your degree much faster. This is called an accelerated BSN program.

Accredited - A nursing program that has been examined and approved to teach nursing, by an organization that certifies the quality of nursing education. The two main accrediting organizations are The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Some schools are accredited by a state board. Whichever the case, it’s imperative to make sure that any program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized nurse education accrediting agency.

Ambulatory Nursing - Nursing in a setting where patients are ambulatory-that is, they don’t need assistance to get around, unlike most hospital patients. Ambulatory nursing is done in doctor’s offices and medical clinics, and focuses on disease prevention and maintenance of health.

Associates Degree - A college degree that normally takes between 2 and 3 years to complete, as opposed to a bachelor’s degree, which is a 4 year program. Many registered nurses possess associates degrees in nursing.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) - This is the degree granted by 4 year nursing programs. A BSN takes longer to earn than an associates, but there are advantages to getting one. Many jobs, especially administrative positions, require a BSN degree. In addition, any one wanting to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing will have to possess a BSN.

Case Management - When a patient needs long term care, they may deal with several different doctors, nurses, and even hospitals, and generate lots of different paperwork. The person assigned to help them navigate their way through their long term care, and handle much of the paperwork, is called a case manager. Case managers are often nurses, and may work for the hospital, an HMO, or even an insurance company.

Certified Nurses Assistant - A person who works in a health care setting doing such things as lifting patients, transporting them, feeding them, changing their bed linen, etc. Certification usually involves completing a one or two week course.

Critical Care - When a hospital patient is in critical condition, whether due to disease or injury, it means that one or more of their vital organs has suffered such damage that they may not live. Critical care nurses minister to these hospital patients’ needs.

Dermatology - Medical care of a person’s skin.

Emergency Care Nursing - Nursing that takes place in an emergency room setting, involving caring for people with sudden serious illnesses, heart attacks, auto accidents, broken bones, etc.

Gastroenterology - Medical care of a person’s stomach and intestines.

Geriatrics - Medical care of the elderly.

Gerontology - The study of old age and it’s associated conditions and problems.

Gynecology - Medical care of the female reproductive system.

Home Health Care Nursing - Nurses who actually visit and care for patients in their homes, as opposed to the patient coming to a hospital or clinic.

Hospice Care - Specialized medical care for patients who are terminally ill and close to death, and their families. Can take place in a home, hospital, or a set aside hospice facility.

Hospital Diploma-a few hospitals in America still train nurses directly, or in conjunction with a local college. Nursing degrees earned this way are called hospital diplomas.

Infusion Therapy-this is a way of getting medicine, nutrients, or other substances directly into the bloodstream by way of an intravenous device.

Medical /Surgical Nursing-(commonly referred to as Med-Surge ). Med-Surge nurses assist patients who are schedule for surgery, or who’ve recently come out of surgery (but not during surgery), and patients who are taking drugs as part of their treatment regimen.

MSN-masters degree in nursing. With an MSN, a nurse can go to higher levels of the nursing field, such as Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthetist.

NCLEX-PN-National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse, the test which all LPN candidates must take and pass before being certified as a Licensed Practical Nurse in America.

NCLEX-RN-National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse, the test which all nursing candidates must take and pass before being certified as a Registered Nurse in America.

Neonatal - Medical care of newborn babies.

Nephrology - Medical care of the kidney.

Nurse Practitioner - A registered nurse who has taken additional coursework to get a master’s degree, and is now certified to perform many of the same functions as a physician, such as diagnosing illness and prescribing drugs.

Occupational Health Nursing - More and more medium and large companies are hiring nurses to work directly for them and help raise awareness of health, lifestyle, and safety issues among their employees, as well as proving them with basic health care. Nurses who practice their skills directly in the workplace are called occupational health nurses.

Oncology - Medical care related to cancer.

Operating Room Nursing - OR nurses are the ones who are actually in the operating room during surgery, doing different tasks to either directly or indirectly assist in performing the actual operation.

Orthopedics - Medical care of the body’s musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, tendons, nerves, etc.

Pediatrics - Medical care of children.

Perianesthesia - The managing of anesthesia before and after surgery.

Psychiatric nurse - Nurse who assists with the medical treatment of mental illness

Radiology Nursing - Nurses who work with X-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.

RN to BSN - This is an accelerated program that many nursing colleges offer, where a person who has qualified to be a registered nurse, but who doesn’t have a BSN degree, can earn their BSN in only a year or two.

Urology - Medical care of the urinary system (bladder and kidneys) in men and women, and the reproductive system in men, including the prostate.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013


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