Glossary: Health care profession titles
Registered or professional nurse
A U.S. nursing title that refers to a first-level, general nurse who is licensed to practice in a U.S. state or territory. CGFNS reviews educational and professional registration documents to determine first-level, general nurse status.
An International Council of Nurses historical title to denote a person who has attained the top level of basic general nursing education and practice in that country. To be eligible to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam, you must be educated and licensed/registered as a first-level nurse and meet certain minimum criteria for nursing education and be educated as a general nurse.
An historical title used to describe a nurse who has studied theory and has had clinical practice in a variety of nursing areas. These include nursing care of the adult (includes medical and surgical nursing), nursing care of children, maternal-infant nursing and psychiatric/mental health nursing. Without being educated and licensed/registered as a general nurse, a nurse who has a specialized education as a maternity nurse, midwife, children’s nurse, psychiatric nurse or in another area of specialization is not eligible to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®.
An International Council of Nurses historical title to describe a nurse who has undergone a general nursing education program and who is responsible for giving nursing care in cooperation with, and under the supervision of, a first-level, general nurse. Second-level nurses are licensed separately from registered nurses in the United States and, therefore, are not eligible for the CGFNS ISPN Program and the CGFNS Certification Program.
They are historically defined as a second-level nurses by the International Council of Nurses, as follows: “(in countries with more than one level of nursing personnel) as the nurse who gives nursing care in cooperation with and under the supervision of a first-level nurse; sometimes referred to as enrolled nurse, practical nurse, technical nurse, nursing assistant, etc.” Second-level nurses are licensed separately from registered nurses in the United States and are not eligible for CGFNS’s ISPN Program or the Certification Program.
They are historically defined as a second-level nurses by the International Council of Nurses. Second-level nurses are licensed separately from registered nurses in the United States and, therefore, are not eligible for the CGFNS ISPN Program and the Certification Program.
They are historically defined as a second-level nurses by the International Council of Nurses. Second-level nurses are licensed separately from registered nurses in the United States and, therefore, are not eligible for the CGFNS ISPN Program or the CGFNS Certification Program.
With respect to the United States, a foreign-educated nurse has received some portion of their education outside the United States. It includes U.S. citizens as well as citizens of other countries.
(From the U.S. Bureau of Labor) “Audiologists work with people who have hearing, balance and related ear problems. They examine individuals of all ages and identify those with the symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory, balance, and related sensory and neural problems. They then assess the nature and extent of the problems and help the individuals manage them. Using audiometers, computers and other testing devices, they measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds, the ability to distinguish between sounds and the impact of hearing loss on an individual’s daily life. In addition, audiologists use computer equipment to evaluate and diagnose balance disorders. Audiologists interpret these results and may coordinate them with medical, educational and psychological information to make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment.
Clinical laboratory scientist (medical technologist) and clinical laboratory technician (medical technician)
(From the U.S. Bureau of Labor) “Clinical laboratory technologists, also referred to as clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists, and clinical laboratory technicians, also known as medical technicians or medical laboratory technicians, perform most of these tests.
“Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids and cells. They look for bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood for transfusions; and test for drug levels in the blood that show how a patient is responding to treatment. Technologists also prepare specimens for examination, count cells and look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids. They use microscopes, cell counters and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. They also use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests simultaneously. After testing and examining a specimen, they analyze the results and relay them to physicians.
“Clinical laboratory technologists perform complex chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological tests. Technologists microscopically examine blood and other body fluids. They make cultures of body fluid and tissue samples, to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites or other microorganisms. Technologists analyze samples for chemical content or a chemical reaction and determine concentrations of compounds such as blood glucose and cholesterol levels. They also type and cross match blood samples for transfusions.
“Clinical laboratory technologists evaluate test results, develop and modify procedures, and establish and monitor programs, to ensure the accuracy of tests. Some technologists supervise clinical laboratory technicians.
“Clinical laboratory technicians perform less complex tests and laboratory procedures than technologists do. Technicians may prepare specimens and operate automated analyzers, for example, or they may perform manual tests in accordance with detailed instructions. They usually work under the supervision of medical and clinical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers. Like technologists, clinical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the clinical laboratory or specialize in just one. Phlebotomists collect blood samples, for example, and histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for microscopic examination by pathologists.”
(From the U.S. Bureau of Labor) “Occupational therapists help patients improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. They work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally or emotionally disabling condition. Occupational therapists use treatments to develop, recover or maintain the daily living and work skills of their patients. The therapist helps clients not only to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function. The goal is to help clients have independent, productive and satisfying lives.
“Occupational therapists help clients to perform all types of activities, from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking and eating. Physical exercises may be used to increase strength and dexterity, while other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity or the ability to discern patterns. For example, a client with short-term memory loss might be encouraged to make lists to aid recall, and a person with coordination problems might be assigned exercises to improve hand-eye coordination. Occupational therapists also use computer programs to help clients improve decision-making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving and perceptual skills, as well as memory, sequencing and coordination — all of which are important for independent living.”
(From the U.S. Bureau of Labor) “Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions, illnesses or injuries that limits their abilities to move and perform functional activities as well as they would like in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, physical therapists work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
“Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and injuries related to work and sports. Physical therapy care and services are provided by physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose movement dysfunction and use interventions to treat patient/clients. Interventions may include therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy techniques, assistive and adaptive devices and equipment, and physical agents and electrotherapeutic modalities.”
(From the U.S. Bureau of Labor) “Physician assistants practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They should not be confused with medical assistants, who perform routine clinical and clerical tasks. PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive healthcare services as delegated by a physician. Working as members of a healthcare team, they take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays, and make diagnoses. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting and casting. Physician assistants record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. Physician assistants also may prescribe certain medications. In some establishments, a physician assistant is responsible for managerial duties, such as ordering medical supplies or equipment and supervising medical technicians and assistants.”
Speech language pathologist
(From the U.S. Bureau of Labor) “Speech-language pathologists — sometimes called speech therapists — assess, diagnose, treat and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing and fluency.
“Speech-language pathologists work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly; those with speech rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering; people with voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or harsh voice; those with problems understanding and producing language; those who wish to improve their communication skills by modifying an accent; and those with cognitive communication impairments, such as attention, memory and problem-solving disorders. They also work with people who have swallowing difficulties.”