A term nurse is highly used to describe healthcare workers in various work settings and with different job roles.
People use the term nurse for registered nurses, school nurses, nurse practitioners, hospital nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and so on.
You can often hear the term nurse in all medical settings.
Medical assistants are referred often as a nurse in physicians’ offices, as well.
Therefore, patients can get confused and think about any caregiver who is wearing a scrub as a nurse.
The term nurse describes that caregiver has the necessary knowledge, skills, and competency to provide care to the patients.
To become a nurse, individuals have to pass training, complete clinical hours, pass competency tests.
They need to be proficient in fields such as patient evaluation, pharmacology, biology, pathophysiology, etc.
In the USA, the American Nurses Association has strict regulations across the country about the use of term nurses.
The Board of Nursing of each state administers the Nurse Practice Acts that contain sections that deal with the specific use of language.
The use of the term nurse is only allowed to address individuals that have fulfilled licensure requirements and have their job roles defined.
Each state Nurse Practice Acts defines the entry-level qualifications in terms of education requirements and code of conduct for individuals allowed to practice nursing.
There are 39 states that have regulated language in their Nurse Practice Acts with the specific circumstance in which the use of the term nurse is allowed.
For example, the Arkansas Nurse Practice Act has defined the use of term nurse for a person who doesn’t have the necessary qualifications as a misdemeanor offense.
The majority of the states define nurses in the same way.
It is a person who has finished education, training, got its license, and passed the national examination in the local state.
Nurse licensure refers to the Licensed Vocational, or Practical Nurse, but also Registered Nurse.
Each nurse specialization has certain educational and clinical requirements.
LVN (Licensed vocational nurse) or LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)
is a nurse who has an official nursing license and has completed all clinical and educational training.
LVN/LPNs focus on technical aspects of clinical procedures and are allowed to provide primary care to the patient.
LVN/LPN must be supervised by physicians or nurses with higher status, such as a registered nurse.
Next, RN (Registered nurse) is a nurse who also has a nurse practice license, but has complete more challenging educational requirements, and clinical training.
To become an RN, one must pass a national exam.
The RN can provide basic and technical care to the patient, create treatment plans, and assess the patients.
Lastly, APN (Advanced practice nurse) is a registered nurse who has completed the training for providing specialized care to the patient with complex issues.
There are several specialties for ADNs, such as family practice, pediatrics, mental health, gerontology, and women’s health.
To use the term nurse for individuals who haven’t completed the requirements seems unfair to the nurses who pass challenging and complex educational and practice pathways to earn the tittle nurse.