Nursing is one of the captivating career choices that a vast majority of people are lured to pursue. Most people are motivated into becoming nurses so as to medically assist patients who confront illnesses and health problems. It is with this profound reason that may set off the journey towards attaining the ultimate goal of becoming a professional nurse by registering for nursing courses. However, the journey to becoming a nurse is never a piece of cake as one has to continuously sacrifice time to put it in hard work. Most of the students commence their studies in order to get a certificate that will allow them to become Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
LPNs, also popularly referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) are nurses who have attained the first step toward becoming professional nurses. They are regarded as beginners in the nursing career after having completed one academic year in the school of nursing. This only earns them a certificate which also limits them from performing a myriad of duties in the hospitals. Few of the LPNsoften get employed in nursing homes and doctor’s offices. However, many of the LPNshave found their jobs not to be worthwhile as they find it extremely daunting to survive with their dismal salaries. It is for these profound reasons that many LPNs resume their education in a bid transit from LPNs to Registered Nurses (RNs)(Burton & Ormrod, 2011). In addition to this, most acute care facilities are evolving towards an all-RN primary care provider model, thereby making LPN/LPV positions in hospitals more difficult to find (Burton & Ormrod,2011). The transition from an LPN to an RN involves shaping, modifying, and adding information in order to achieve a more comprehensive view of patient care (Claywell, 2013).
Scope of Practice
The difference between LPNs and RNs is that the LPNs are strictly taught ‘how’ to take care of the patients whereas the RNs are taught to embrace critical thinking in order to comprehend the patients’ problems, plan, manage and provide the best care (Claywell, 2013). RNs are allowed to practice in a variety of settings such as clinics, patients’ homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities (Claywell, 2013). However, the LPNs are known to work under close supervision from the RNs and are usually obliged to perform a limited set of medical duties in hospitals and nursing homes.
Management of patients
RNs are regarded to be second in the healthcare hierarchy after physicians. As opposed to LPNs, RNs perform a wide range of responsibilities in the hospital or clinical setting without anyone’s supervision. It is therefore clear that the role of the RNs has a higher overall status than that of an LPN. Consequently, RNs are also highly paid as compared to the LPNs who usually receive the lowest pay as healthcare practitioners (Burton & Ormrod, 2011).
On the one hand, the LPNs are restricted to only perform lesser responsibilities as compared to those of RNs. Some of these duties include: checking on the vital signs of the patients such as blood pressure and body glucose level whilst also checking on the physical condition of the patients and writing an accurate report with regards to the observed physical conditions of the patient.
On the other hand, RNs are allowed to perform a wide range of clinical duties such as making a diagnosis, cleaning wounds, and treating patients. As care providers, RNs’ role is to provide the best health care for their patients. Other responsibilities of the RNs in an outpatient clinic include: performing health promotions, health screenings, and nurse interventions that are aimed at restoring the patient’s good health (Claywell, 2013). Since registered nurses are usually exposed to the joys and sorrows of the patients and their families, they may also act as counselors to identify with the patient’s emotional needs. Apart from performing the function of a counselor, the RNs may also serve as mentors, supervisors, and advocates with the objective of providing patients with excellent healthcare services.
Transition to executive level. In order for LPNs to gain the status of RNs, they need to spend at least 2-3 years in a Nursing School. They are also required to do a bridge program in vital subjects such as microbiology, pharmacology, physiology, medical ethics, and patient care (Harrington & Cynthia, 2009). Training is also a part and parcel of the transition, as an LPN is required to do practical training in a clinical setting. On the other hand, an RN can get to an advanced level by getting a two-year associate degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. RNs may acquire a license certifying an advanced level after excelling in the final National Council Licensure Examination (Harrington& Cynthia, 2009).
Burton, R., &Ormrod, G. (2011).Nursing: Transition to Professional Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Claywell, L.(2013). LPN to RN Transitions.St. Louis, MO:Mosby.
Harrington, N., and Cynthia, L. T. (2009) LPN to RN Transitions: Achieving Success in Your New Role. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.