In the United States, there are currently four main types of job opportunities in nursing homes. These include registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), geriatric nurses and certified nurse’s assistants (CNAs).
While larger nursing homes can employ all of the four types of nurses, in small nursing homes only CNAs and RNs are usually employed. Each of the four nursing home jobs has its unique responsibilities and functions, and therefore requires different levels of education.
In any nursing home, the position of CNA is usually the highest paid, and these nurses are the busiest and more visible. They are required to possess a degree in nursing assistance, from an institution such as the Charter Health Care Training Center, which is well-recognized.
Working closely with both patients and nurses, they ensure that the needs of the patients are met. Their many duties include the bathing, dressing and feeding of the patients, as well as assisting them to use the restroom.
An RN is charged with a high level of patient care, having completed a comprehensive degree in nursing, lasting for two or four years. They are responsible for handling emergencies, monitoring patients, and the dispensing and administering of medication. They also do diagnostic testing and educate the patients.
Since the doctors in many nursing homes do not provide full-time service there, it is the duty of the RN to act as the first point of contact between the medical staff and the patients. Consequently, he/she must possess good organizational and management skills and the ability to work in high-pressure situations.
RNs have a higher level of education that LPNs and therefore have increased responsibilities and tasks, and are compensated with larger salaries. Included in their responsibilities is the assigning and supervising of LPNs, who are required to record the vital signs of the patients and maintain their medical charts. Essentially, the LPNs need to ensure that the operations of the nursing home run smoothly.
Geriatric nursing is in high demand at many nursing homes today, as they are similar to registered nurses but have specialized training in the care of the elderly. They are skilled and experienced in the provision of mental as well as physical care to the elderly patients.