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Types Of Nurses: Duties & Salaries

Types Of Nurses: Duties & Salaries

By Editorial Team | Updated On May 21, 2024

Nursing is a crucial part of the medical industry and plays an important role in its functioning. They form an important part of the patient experience and are crucial to ensuring they leave the facilities satisfied. There are different types of nursing jobs out there, with each having its own significance.

What Is A Nurse?

They are licensed healthcare professionals who are involved in taking care of patients and helping out doctors with certain tasks. They assess how well patients respond to treatment and their general progress. Nurses also play a role in educating patients on how to better take care of themselves.

Types of Nurses

All nurses are not the same. They can be classified into different types depending on several factors. Generally speaking, there are three types of nurses in the medical field.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)

LPNs (sometimes called Licensed Vocational Nurses, or LVNs) are tasked with offering basic treatment and care to patients. They assist more qualified medical professionals with their duties. LPNs perform tasks like administering treatment, monitoring patient health, updating health records, etc.

LPNs must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, along with finishing an accredited practical nursing certificate program. This program typically lasts about a year. In addition, candidates must also clear the National Council Leisure Examination for Licensed Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

These roles are typically entry-level and help lay the foundations for a career in nursing. It is a great way to get some experience in the field before progressing to bigger things. They are employed in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, physician’s offices, clinics, etc.

Registered Nurse (RN)

They are known for adopting a holistic and caring approach to patient care to help them attain optimal health and well-being. In addition to having good technical knowledge of medical procedures, they also need good interpersonal abilities. This combination of hard and soft skills makes it a rewarding job with great growth potential.

There are several routes to becoming a Registered Nurse. One can opt for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, which lasts about 4 years. Another alternative is an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN), which lasts about 2 years. For these types of nursing jobs, it is also mandatory to clear the NCLEX-RN exam.

RNs may possess different types of specialties that can range from labor and delivery (L&D) to oncology and pain management. Certain specialties require on-the-job training, while others require certification like Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC) or Nursing Case Management Certification (CMGT-BC).

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

It is an advanced role in the medical profession and requires a broad range of qualifications. They are at the forefront of the nursing line and must be thorough with the fundamentals. They treat and diagnose illnesses, educate patients, advise the public on health issues, manage chronic diseases, engage in self-education, etc.

APRNs must be registered nurses and acquire either a master's degree or a doctorate in nursing. They also need to clear a state-approved national certification exam. This may typically be one of the ANCC certifications.

They often provide services in community-based settings. APRNs need to be aware of the latest trends and developments in terms of procedures, treatments, medicines, etc. Keeping themselves up to date is important, as this is a role that is constantly evolving.


Each of the aforementioned types of nurses has their own responsibilities, which they must adhere to. Some are general and apply to all nursing jobs, while others apply more to specific types only.

Licensed Practical Nurses/ Licensed Vocational Nurses

These are typically entry-level roles and have the following responsibilities:

      • Monitoring patient vitals and keeping records of them in appropriate files.
      • Help make patients comfortable and look after their cleanliness. This includes activities like dressing, bathing, feeding, etc.
      • Administer medicatations
      • Assisting medical staff with various tasks
      • Keep patient records updated and maintain confidentiality
      • Assess the health and well-being of patients and report issues to medical staff, if any
      • Educate patients and families about treatment and medical procedures
      • Change bandages and dressings to ensure patients are healing well
      • Help patients with movements on and off wheelchairs, beds, gurneys, etc.

Registered Nurse

These are generally mid-level jobs and have the following responsibilities:

      • Observing and recording patient behavior to track their progress.
      • Conduct diagnostic tests and physical examinations.
      • Collecting patients’ health histories
      • Educate and counsel patients and their families on treatment plans.
      • Basic tasks like changing wound dressings, administering medication, and assisting with other treatment options.
      • Make treatment decisions when needed by reading and interpreting patient information
      • Decide on the best treatment plans for patients. This may involve consulting with doctors and supervisors before implementation.
      • Supervising and directing other nurses, nurse aides, nurse assistants, etc.
      • Researching ways to optimize health outcomes for patients and medical processes.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

These types of nursing jobs are for senior positions and have the following responsibilities:

      • They carry out clinical diagnoses and other comprehensive health assessments.
      • Developing and implementing treatment plans. In some parts of the country, they even hold the authority to prescribe medicines.
      • Provide direct care to patients, monitor patient conditions, make adjustments to treatment plans if needed, etc.
      • Educate and counsel patients to promote disease prevention and general physical well-being through various programs.
      • Involved in research and quality improvement initiatives to help the medical field progress and offer better healthcare to patients.
      • Need to collaborate with other healthcare professionals either in person or through the use of technology.
      • In certain cases, they may have to take on leadership roles or management duties that could involve decision-making.
      • Teaching and mentoring budding nurses or other healthcare professionals.
      • May have a say in the development of healthcare regulations and guidelines
      • Supporting patient rights and helping them obtain the best possible levels of health and well-being.


Let’s talk money now! Nursing jobs may be common, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be paid well for doing them. Some of the highest-paying nursing jobs can pay up to 6 figures every year while also offering great learning opportunities. Also, it is important to note that these are average figures and numbers at entry level are going to be lower.

How Much Do Nursing Jobs Make On Average?

If we look for an average that considers all types of nursing jobs, we find that nurses make an average of $66,623 annually. This comes down to around $33 an hour and over $5,000 every month. These are taken from GlassDoor.

How Much Do LPNs/LVNs Make On Average?

Going by the industry averages, research shows that Licensed Practical Nurses earn an average of $75,664 per year. This translates to over $6,000 monthly and more than $37 an hour. These figures were taken from GlassDoor.

How Much Do Registered Nurses Make On Average?

If we look at the mean figures, statistics indicate that Registered Nurses earn an average annual salary of $103,673, which is over $51 per hour and above $8,000 monthly, as per trusted sources at GlassDoor.

How Much Do APRNs Make On Average?

As per the numbers in the medical field, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses earn an average salary of $120,652 annually. This equates to just over $60 an hour and a little over $10,000 monthly. These numbers are provided by GlassDoor.

Choosing Between Different Types Of Nursing Jobs

Understanding what various types of nursing jobs offer is fine and good, but how do you pick which one is right for you? What you look at and how you prioritize things matter greatly. Here are some factors you should consider.


How far one is willing to go with their schooling plays a crucial role in deciding what kind of role they want to take on. Some individuals come from not-so-well-off backgrounds and can not afford to get a bachelor’s or master's degree. In other cases, individuals are eager to enter the job market and do not want to spend too much time in class. In both cases, individuals can opt to pursue a career as an LPN.

Those who are willing to study and build their credentials can pursue a role as a Registered Nurse which typically requires a relevant bachelor’s degree. Students can even opt for an associate’s degree if they want a shorter academic alternative. Additional certifications may also not be a bad idea.

Lastly, individuals who are willing to spend long hours in class and put in all the effort to get a master’s or doctorate degree can pursue an APRN career. Along with a good academic base, candidates may need leadership and decision-making skills as they grow in this role.


When it comes to salaries, APRNs come at the top of the pecking order, followed by Registered Nurses with LPNs coming in at the bottom. In terms of getting by, all three positions offer enough for candidates to have a good lifestyle and manage their expenses.

A lot of candidates are solely motivated by salaries. While financial security is important, having money as your prime motivator is not a good idea long term. One should look at what suits their skills and where they can perform their best work.


A lot of individuals are motivated by factors such as status or influence in their profession. They like to be in positions of authority or power within the organization. For such individuals, APRN is the ideal option, as they have the highest degree of influence among all types of nurses. LPNs are at the lower end of the authority chain, while Registered Nurses fall in the middle.

Furthermore, APRNs may be required to hold management positions as they gain experience. However, it is important to remember that with great power comes great responsibility. If authority is what motivates you, be prepared to take on more responsibility too.

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