Glossary of Terms

Forgot an acronym? Can’t remember the name of a title or degree? No problem. This glossary of terms has outlined the main terms to be familiar with to make browsing for degrees a seamless and smooth experience.

  • Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN): A nurse with a Master’s, post-Master, or Doctoral degree in a specialty, for example: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse midwife. They do not require supervision from a physician to practice.
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN):  An association that outlines the standards for nursing education.

  • Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN): Degree for entry level nursing positions.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): It typically takes four years to earn a BSN. Nurses with a BSN tend to be given more responsibilities and it is easier for them to go on to Master’s Degrees.
  • Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): Nurses educated at a Master’s level that are prepared to provide care within any healthcare environment. It was created by the AACN in collaboration with healthcare professionals to improve patient care quality and outcomes. CNLs are lateral integrators for the entire medical team.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): They are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with a specialty in a specific subset of nursing.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): Nursing Doctorate degree focused on clinical practice. It usually takes 3-5 years to complete.  It serves as an alternative to research-intensive doctoral degrees.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): They work with patients throughout their lifespan; from childhood, to adulthood, to old age. Some FNPs are primary care providers under a physician, while others work completely independently from a doctor and run their own practices FNPs focus on wellness and prevention and must understand the impact of the aging process on healthcare.
  • National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN): A standardized exam administered by each state to determine if a candidate is prepared for an entry-level nursing position. You need to pass it to become an RN.
  • Nurse Educator: They are in charge of designing and implementing coursework for nursing programs. They work with everyone from recent high school graduates, to experienced nurses looking to further their knowledge and education. Nurse educators have a Master’s Degree (MSN) or Doctorate Degree (DNP).
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP): Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) that can work independently or under a physician. They provide high levels of care and perform tasks that a regular RN cannot perform. They emphasize disease prevention and health management.
  • Registered Nurse (RN): Nurses that have graduated from a nursing program and have met the requirements to obtain a nursing license.
  • RN to BSN: Nurses who have completed and ADN and have passed the NCLEX to become RNs tend to go back to school to complete their BSN.