Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
For everyone who gets into nursing, the very first step is usually a Nurse's assistant. If an assistant wishes to further their career, the next step is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Some states refer to this title as a Licensed Vocational Nurse, or LVN, but they only differ in their title. The training of a Licensed Practical Nurse builds on any entry level experience one has gained and is more often the first big step in beginning in the field of nursing. Job duties of a LPN involve taking vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration, all under the supervision of a RN or physician.
As a LPN you will be charged with observing patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments. All the routine procedures of collecting samples and filing records correctly are given to you, though you may also have to take a more hands-on approach at times. A LPN at times will have to help patients with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable, and care for their emotional needs. Interaction with patients is the core of a LPN's duty, where the nurse learns how to comfort and develop caring relationships that are core principals of the nursing profession. This is of course will begin to prepare the nurse for a future role as a RN and will need to be learned before you can continue up the career ladder.
While most positions in nursing require a fair amount of extra schooling, you can start out as a LPN with just an Associates Degree and LPN certification, using your work experience to further you from there. Most of the work you complete as a LPN can be applied to getting your bachelors or master's in nursing, for a Registered Nurse or Advance Practice Nursing position. The salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse can range from 25-35k on average, depending on your qualifications. Putting the extra time in at this position will pay off if you stick with the nursing profession, and your experience in the field continues to grow.