The current classifications for nurses in the United States are:
--LPN - Licenced Practical Nurse - 1 year of school, can do all direct patient care except for intravenous therapy unless they complete a post-graduate IV Therapy course. Does not complete care plans in most facilities, with extended-care facilities being the exception, as LPNs are typically the highest level in such facilities.
--RN - Registered Nurse - 2 years of school for an ADN, 4 years of school for a BSN. RNs complete all nursing tasks with patients, including planning care, administering medications (including IV), and holding administrative positions in most health-care facilities.
Beyond BSN, amount of school varies for the specific MSN track persued. Nurse practitioner and nursing instructor are only two of a myriad of choices.
Additionally, there STNAs who have the most basic nursing skills and are there assist the nurses in their tasks. STNA is replacing the older term of CNA. In extended-care facilities, STNAs perform the bulk of the direct care tasks such as bathing, feeding, taking vital signs, and changing linens but do not administer medications or perform any other major nursing procedures.