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Graduate Nursing vs Medication Aide

Graduate Nursing vs Medication Aide

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Key Points:

  • Graduate nurses have more advanced clinical duties; Medication aides focus on administering medications under the supervision of a nurse.
  • Graduate nurses typically earn higher salaries than medication aides, reflecting their advanced education and scope of practice.
  • Demand for both graduate nurses and medication aides is high.
  • Graduate nurses require a master's or doctoral degree, while medication aides complete a shorter training program, often offered online or in-person.
  • Graduate nursing programs are more expensive and take longer to complete, while medication aide training is generally more affordable and faster.

Choosing a career in the healthcare field can be an incredibly rewarding decision. With so many different paths to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. Two popular options in the healthcare field are graduate nursing and medication aide. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two professions, including their job descriptions, education and training requirements, career outlook, and salary potential.

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What is a Graduate Nursing and Medication Aide?

  • Graduate Nursing: A graduate nurse, also known as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), is a highly skilled healthcare professional who has completed advanced education and training beyond the level of a registered nurse (RN). They have obtained a master's or doctoral degree in nursing and are qualified to provide a wide range of healthcare services, including diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications, and providing primary care.

  • Medication Aide: A medication aide, on the other hand, is a healthcare professional who assists nurses and other medical staff in administering medications to patients. They work under the supervision of a licensed nurse and play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive their medications safely and accurately. Medication aides typically work in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living centers.

Difference between a Graduate Nursing and Medication Aide

The main differences between graduate nursing and medication aide include:

  • Education and Training: Graduate nursing requires a significant amount of education and training beyond the level of a registered nurse. Nurses who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses must complete a master's or doctoral degree in nursing, which typically takes an additional two to four years of study. Medication aides, on the other hand, generally need to complete a state-approved training program, which can usually be completed in a matter of weeks.

  • Scope of Practice: Graduate nurses have a much broader scope of practice compared to medication aides. They are qualified to diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and provide primary care to patients. Medication aides, however, are limited to assisting with medication administration and are not able to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

  • Responsibilities: Graduate nurses are responsible for providing comprehensive healthcare services to patients, including conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, developing treatment plans, and educating patients about their health conditions. Medication aides, on the other hand, are responsible for administering medications to patients, monitoring patients for any adverse reactions to medications, and reporting any concerns or issues to a licensed nurse.

Graduate Nursing vs Medication Aide: Job Description

  • Graduate Nursing: The job description of a graduate nurse can vary depending on their specialty area. Some common job duties of a graduate nurse may include:

  • Conducting physical examinations and health assessments

  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses

  • Prescribing medications and other treatments

  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests

  • Providing counseling and education to patients and their families

  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care

  • Medication Aide: The job description of a medication aide typically includes the following responsibilities:

  • Administering medications to patients according to prescribed dosages and schedules

  • Monitoring patients for any adverse reactions to medications

  • Documenting medication administration and any observed changes in patients' condition

  • Reporting any concerns or issues to a licensed nurse

  • Assisting with other tasks related to patient care, such as taking vital signs or assisting with activities of daily living

Graduate Nursing vs Medication Aide: Education and Training

  • Graduate Nursing: To become a graduate nurse, individuals must first complete a bachelor's degree in nursing and obtain a registered nurse (RN) license. After gaining some experience as an RN, they can then pursue advanced education and training in a specialized area of nursing, such as family practice, pediatrics, or gerontology. This typically involves completing a master's or doctoral degree in nursing, which can take an additional two to four years of study.

  • Medication Aide: The education and training requirements for medication aides vary by state. In general, individuals must complete a state-approved training program, which can usually be completed in a matter of weeks. These programs typically cover topics such as medication administration techniques, medication safety, and basic medical terminology. Upon completion of the training program, individuals must pass a competency exam to become certified as a medication aide.

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Graduate Nursing vs Medication Aide: Career Outlook and Salary

  • Career Outlook: Both graduate nursing and medication aide professions have positive career outlooks, but the demand for advanced practice registered nurses is expected to grow at a faster rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nurse practitioners, which falls under the category of advanced practice registered nurses, is projected to grow 45% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is driven by several factors, including an aging population, increased emphasis on preventive care, and a shortage of primary care physicians. The demand for medication aides is also expected to increase due to the aging population and the need for long-term care services.

  • Salary: The salary potential for graduate nurses is generally higher than that of medication aides. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for nurse practitioners, which falls under the category of advanced practice registered nurses, was $111,680 in May 2020. The median annual wage for medication aides, on the other hand, was $29,580 in May 2020. It's important to note that salaries can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and level of education.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career in graduate nursing or becoming a medication aide is a personal decision that depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. Graduate nursing offers a broader scope of practice, higher earning potential, and more advanced education and training requirements. Medication aide, on the other hand, provides an opportunity to work in a healthcare setting and make a positive impact on patients' lives with a shorter training period.

Ultimately, it's important to carefully consider your own strengths, interests, and long-term goals when deciding which career path is right for you. Both graduate nursing and medication aide can offer rewarding careers in the healthcare field, and both play important roles in providing quality care to patients.

Dreambound's programs are available in different locations. Explore the following blogs for comprehensive details on these two vocations, including their requirements and guidelines on joining:

Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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