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Registered Nurse (RN)

What is a registered nurse?

A registered nurse, sometimes abbreviated as RN, is a healthcare provider who has received an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and has passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Working alongside other healthcare providers, registered nurses educate and treat patients. They evaluate patients, administer medical care, record medical information and develop care plans as part of their daily functions.  

Registered nurses work in many settings, such as hospitalshome health careoutpatient facilities, physicians’ offices and schools. Many registered nurses choose to specialize in an area of care, such as geriatrics or oncology.  

What is the difference between a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse (LPN)?

The required schooling differentiates registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. While registered nurses must receive an ADN or BSN degree, licensed practical nurses must receive an associate degree or a certificate from a program accepted by the practicing state. Both types of professionals must pass the NCLEX before practicing.  

The scope of licensed practical nurses’ work is more focused on tasks, like taking samples or vitals, rather than plan development. They often work under registered nurses and physicians.

Why are registered nurses important to healthcare?  

Registered nurses are important because they coordinate and provide individualized, quality care to patients, educate the public and act as supportive advocates for patients and their families.