There are a number of differences between being an LPN vs RN nurse. It should be obvious that that an RN has more responsibility. This responsibility brings with it a higher salary as well as more training required.
Being an LPN is often considered to be less stressful. Being an LPN can serve as a gateway to becoming an RN. There are a number of differences between the two, and if you are interested in joining the nursing arena but can’t decide if you want to be an LPN or RN. Consider this table below to help you reach a decision.
|Licensed Practical Nurses||Registered Nurses|
|RN vs LPN: Patient Care Duties||This is related directly with the duties that LPNs and RNs are expected to perform. When it comes to caring for patients, LPNs monitor patient vital signs, administer injections or enemas, dress wounds, assist with personal care like bathing and dressing, record food and fluid intake and urine and fecal output, and clean medical equipment.||Registered nurses also have a number of duties to perform when it comes to patient care. They are able to do everything that LPNs are allowed to do, but in addition they can also administer oral medications, start intravenous lines and insert catheters, tasks that would never be entrusted to an LPN. In addition RNs are permitted to treat patients, educate patients and the public about various medical conditions, provide advice and emotional support to patients’ family members, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.|
|LPN vs RN: Interactions||Another key difference between the two lies in who they interact with. Generally speaking LPNs have a lot more to do with the patients. They spend a large portion of their time interacting with their patients rather than with their colleagues that they work with.||RNs also interact with their patients, but not to the same degree as LPNs. RNs on the other hand are more involved with the physicians and other medical professionals that are dealing with the health of the patients. This is a sign of their elevated status in the healthcare setting.|
|RN vs LPN: Specializing||LPN nurses are usually found in all settings in the hospital. Their skills are highly generalized and they can function adequately in the roles in any given hospital department or ward. This is because the skills that LPNs have are needed all over the hospital or healthcare facility.||RNs on the other hand often choose to specialize in one specific aspect of nursing and to make a career out of that one single aspect. For example an RN may decide that they would like to be a trauma nurse only, or that they will only work on oncology.|
|LPN vs RN: Advancement||To advance far in the medical profession you have to work your way up. If you want to do well in the nursing arena you will have to first become an RN. There are a number of LPN to RN bridging programs that you can use to achieve this.||If you want to become a manager in a hospital or another healthcare setting you will have to first be an RN. RNs are placed in a position where it is far easier for them to work towards improving their career prospects easily and quickly. RNs have more room for advancement.|
|RN vs LPN:||The LPN salary is approximately $14.29 to $19.37 on an hourly basis in hospitals. Annually LPNs earn about $29,723 to $40,289. As salaries go this is not bad at all. These figures are taken form 2009, and since then the process have only increased so you can be assured of good pay.||RNs earn about $22.33 to $31.15 on an hourly basis in hospitals. Annually RNs earn about $46,446 to $64,792. This is substantially more than what an LPN earns which is why many people choose to treat an LPN qualification as a stepping stone to achieving their RN qualification more easily.|
|LPN vs RN: Schooling||There are quite a few differences in terms of schooling between LPNs and RNs. For one thing LPNs only study for about a year to 18 months depending on the program. Some of them study for two years, but there are seldom programs that go on for longer than that. There are a number of requirements that must be met before you can enter an LPN program. The program that you choose to go through to complete your LPN qualification must be approved by your state board of nursing if you want to be successful. Once you have completed the program you will have to pass the NCLEX-PN examination. Once you have passed the examination you will be licensed as an LPN.||Depending on the degree that an RN decides to pursue the qualification can take anything from two years to four years to complete. An associate’s degree will be shorter, while a master’s degree can be expected to take the most time. The higher your qualification the more job opportunities you will be eligible for as an RN. The program has to be approved by the state board of nursing for your state. Once you have completed this you will also have to write an exam called the NCLEX-RN exam in order to complete the process and become licensed.|
|RN vs LPN: Delegation and Supervision rights||LPN nurses are able to delegate tasks to CNAs and to nursing assistants. They are considered to be of a higher educational standing then these aides and are therefore permitted to have a say over what those nurses do in the medical field.||RN nurses can delegate tasks to LPNs and everyone under LPNs. LPNs have to perform tasks under the supervision of RNs and are not permitted to do many things on their own. It is important that RNs supervise others as they will be held responsible for any mistakes those under their supervision make.|
|LPN vs RN: Working Environment||In many ways there are few differences between where LPN and RN nurses work as they work closely with each other in many healthcare settings. There are differences in numbers, however. When it comes to LPNs approximately one-quarter of LPNs work in a hospital, one-quarter work in nursing homes, 12 percent work in physician’s offices and the remainder work in a variety of settings.||In many ways there are few differences between where LPN and RN nurses work as they work closely with each other in many healthcare settings. There are differences in numbers, however. When it comes to RNs 59 percent of RNs are employed by hospitals, 8 percent work in physicians’ offices, and the remainder work mostly in home health care, nursing homes and outpatient care facilities. The differences are changing with time and more and more overlap between the two professions can be seen as time progresses.|
|RN vs LPN: Assessment||When it comes to assessing a patient, LPN nurses have no role to play at all and are not permitted to make formal assessments, although their opinions are often noted.||When a patient arrives at the hospital it is the responsibility of the RN to assess that patient. This includes finding out who brought the patient to the hospital. It also involves hearing form them what their complaints are and what effect those complaints are having on them and their functioning. This is one of the tasks that RNs are not allowed to delegate to LPNs under any circumstances.|
|LPN vs RN: Care Plans||When it comes to care plans an LPN is not allowed to create a plan. However they are allowed to make changes to an existing plan if they inform the supervising RN.||Creating a plan of care for the treatment of the patients in the care of the facility lies with the RN. It is their responsibility to make sure that there is a care of plan in place that this plan is being adjusted according to any new developments that occur in the patient during their time at the medical institute or the hospital.|
|RN vs LPN: Implementation of Care Plans||An LPN is permitted to undergo the tasks laid out in the care plan if they are delegated to them by their supervising RN. There are some tasks in the care plan that will be outside the scope of practice of an LPN, but there will also be several tasks they can perform. In many ways the implementation lies more with the LPN.||The RN is also able to carry out all of the tasks laid out in the plan of care for each patient. There are in fact some tasks on these plans that they may be obligated to do themselves.|
|LPN vs RN: Evaluations||When it comes to giving evaluations of how a patient is progressing, the LPN has a very limited role. However LPNs are still obligated and allowed to report any unusual or severe outcomes to their supervising RNs.||RNs are the primary assessors or patient progress and condition. This is a task that cannot be delegated to an LPN, although a LPNs observations and opinions may play a part if the RN takes the time to validate what the LPN says. There are a number of things that at RN is trained to look out for that an LPN is not.|
|RN vs LPN: Teaching||When it comes time for a patient to leave the hospital there are a number of things that they will have to be taught in order to look after themselves once they are at home. In this regard an LPN can only reinforce what an RN says.||The role of educating patients about the things they need to know once they are discharged from the hospital lies with the RN. They have primary responsibility in this regard and it is their job to make sure that their patients are properly informed when they leave.|
|LPN vs RN: Medication||LPNs are usually able to administer medication and IV after they have completed the appropriate training. It is usually wise that they are overseen by RNs when they do this.||RN nurses are permitted to administer medication to their patients. This is a very important role and one where many mistakes can be made, so it requires knowledge of medication. If an RN nurse has a very advanced qualification, such as a master’s degree, they may also be permitted to actually prescribe the medications in the first place. This is an advanced skill that LPN nurses do not have.|
The above is a fairly comprehensive account of the differences between LPN nurses and RN nurses. In some cases the differences are quite small and for many they are only a matter of responsibility and independence. In many ways LPNs can do a lot of what RNs can do as long as they are properly supervised. The difference lies in the education that each type of nurse has received.
Many people use their cheaper and shorter LPN qualification as a way to get ahead and start working while they at the same time study for an LPN to RN bridge program. Being an RN can have its disadvantages as there are a number of reasons why this job is more stressful than that of an LPN nurse. With this in mind it is important to note that your decision about which kind of nurse you would like to become has to be made very carefully. You cannot focus only on one of the aspects mentioned above. For example, the salary may be a lot better as an RN, but you will also be required to engage in teaching behavior when patients are discharged, something that not all nurses are naturally good at. You need to examine where your skills as well as your motivation and inspiration lies before making your final choice about what kind of nurse you want to become.