The Differences Between an STNA and an RN
For patients, there may not seem to be much difference between the different nursing professionals that they encounter while they’re in the hospital or doctor’s office. But the different levels of nursing come with different responsibilities and they also require different types of training and testing for potential nurses.
The Amount of Training Involved
Training to become an STNA can feel intense, but that program is a lot shorter than the training program to become a Registered Nurse. For RN training, you’ll need to attend classes for anywhere from two to four years, depending on where you decide to go to school. State Tested Nursing Assistant programs can be as short as two weeks in duration.
In order to be either an STNA or an RN, you have to be licensed by the state in which you plan to work. Every state has requirements for that testing and requires that you demonstrate what you know in order to be able to pass. These tests are often very difficult, but your training prepares you for the types of questions you’ll see. Often taking practice exams is a good idea so that you’ll know what to expect.
Daily Tasks and Duties
Once someone becomes an STNA or an RN, duties and tasks on a daily basis look very different. Registered Nurses tend to have specific duties that usually involve making some health care decisions on their own for patients based on care plans and what decisions have already been made by doctors. STNA’s on the other hand usually are handling daily direct care tasks for patients, like helping with sponge baths, taking vital signs, and helping patients to eat during mealtimes.
Salaries Also Differ
RN’s tend to make more money than STNA’s do, but this also depends greatly on where you work geographically as well as what type of health care environment you work in. Salaries vary from working in hospitals to nursing homes to even working as traveling home care providers. Some of these positions can pay very well, even as an STNA, so it helps to research salaries when you’re determining what type of environment you want to work in on a daily basis.
Becoming an STNA is an excellent first step for you if your goal is to ultimately become a Registered Nurse. The job experience you gain as an STNA will serve you well and you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career in the healthcare industry.