Question for LPNs/LVNs

  1. I have a question for the LPNs out there:

    As an RN, I have a hard time understanding why someone would become an LPN. Don't get me wrong, you're a valuable member of the team! But I'm curious as to why you chose practical nursing as opposed to professional. Why go into a branch of nursing that holds less authority, resposibility, and receives less pay?

    Please enlighten me!
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   MSNGFC
    Well Matt in response to your question, here is my reason for becoming an LPN. In my life I have done alot of things and been to many places, see I have served in the United States Marine Corps. Well in my travels to many war torn lands I have seen alot of injured and sick people, but did not have the skills or know how to do anythig for these people. So I made a promise to myself that at the end of my enlistment that I would change that aspect of my life and do something about it. The only problem I had was to what type of medicine I wanted to get into, because my ever intention was to return to military service after school was finished. I looked into becoming an EMT, but it was just emergency medicine and was not detailed enough for me. I looked into a PA school, and it was just to long of a commitment for me to be away from the service that long. After all of this I was left with making a decision of being an LPN or going to an associate program to be an RN. Well after looking at the length of the programs (LPN=1 year or RN=18 months), the scope of the program as to what I would learn, and to how I would work this into my goals of being able to make a difference in my military career, I made a decision to become an LPN. I completed the course with high honors in my class and enjoyed every minute of it. I had only one problem during the whole thing, three days before graduation, my mother was murdered. This was a very big shock to me, and it affected my outlook on the death and dying aspect of nursing. It also made me have to change my goals in life as that mother took care of my grandparents, and with her gone someone had to step up to the bat and take care of then. That person had to be me. I had to put my military career behind me and move on. I tried to work in a few nursing homes in my home town, but the death and dying aspect affected my work. As that I was very harsh about my feelings of death, as that to this day I have not morned my mothers death. I have not shed a single tear, and this worries me. I loved working with the patients, the staff, and the patients families, but not facing death in the why others do made me feel diferent from the other nurses, as that I did not morn with the families, I was always the one to prepare the body for the family to see after the patient had passed away. This lead me to get out of nursing for three years. I have since faced my problems and have made the steps to return to nursing, and return to school for a degree in physical therapy. I know I have rambled on and I thank you for letting me vent my feelings. as for your question about why I became an LPN, I would recommend it to anyone who is unsure of what part of medicine you want to get into, because it give you a taste of many peices of the pie. But you must be willing to expand on your base of knowledge, adn always look to the next level of education or you will get into a rutt. thanks for your time

    I can be reached an MSNGFC@aol.com
  4. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Mattcastens,
    I'm becoming an LPN because I can get a job in nursing instead of working retail for another year. I will need 10 more credit hours of core requisites and two more semesters of clinicals then for my ADN that is transferrable to a four year college.
    I plan to become a practitioner, but first I have to earn a living.
    Brad
    Columbia, MD
  5. by   stlpn2002
    For some becoming an LPN is just a tool for becoming an RN or something more...for reasons such as time, money, family, or some want some experience under their belt. However, my reason for becoming an lpn....you speak of authority, responsibility, and $$$$$..well, these are the things that i considered when deciding to go to lpn school. Yes, you make more$$$$, have more "authority, and "responsibility, but i will have more 1-on-1 with the patients and families...while you sit back and do paperwork, delegate tasks to the lpns and collect your big $$$ for being a medical sec.

    I want to feel that I have accomplished something at the end of the day......now this is not to say that this pertains to all RNs because I know there are some great ones out there that try to stay very involved wit all aspects of pt. care, but for the most part RNs stay busy with the non-personal aspects of care. So, it just boils down to what a person finds the most satisfaction in.
  6. by   MRed94
    I was a single mother with a 5 month old son at the time I chose LPN school.

    For me, it was a way to salvage what pride I had left, go to school, make a living for my child, get off the welfare rolls, and feel good about what I was doing for a living. (i was waitressing for $2.10 an hour)

    My first job as an LPN paid me $7.75 an hour, and back in 1988, that was a TON of money.

    I could finally tell welfare to stick it, and hold my head up.

    Now, Uncle Sam has made it possible for me to continue my schooling, something I have wanted to do for years.

    Now I will be a RN, and will hold my head up even higher. Maybe my 16 year old will see the value of perseverance.....



    Marla
  7. by   LauraRN0501
    "you sit back and do paperwork, delegate tasks to the lpns and collect your big $$$ for being a medical sec.

    I want to feel that I have accomplished something at the end of the day......now this is not to say that this pertains to all RNs because I know there are some great ones out there that try to stay very involved wit all aspects of pt. care, but for the most part RNs stay busy with the non-personal aspects of care. So, it just boils down to what a person finds the most satisfaction in."


    AHHHHHHH, no.

    I do primary care nursing, including personal hygiene, turning, ambulating, etc, PLUS meds, treatments, IVs, blood. Anything the patient needs, I do. I am scheduled to work 12 hours days but usually end up working 14 hour days because I don't have time to chart during the day. Why? Because I am doing PATIENT CARE.

    And I sure as HELL don't make big bucks.

    L.
  8. by   Furball
    Sorry, could'nt let this one go..
    "RN's for the most part do the nonpersonal care"???

    My average shift includes ambulating post op CABG's, turning and repositioning at least 1 total care patient q 1-2 hours. Peri-care, linen changes, wound care, meds, post op teaching for post op CABG's, heart transplants, radical necks who are d/c with laryngectomies and tube feeds. (Helluva lot of teaching requirements for larygectomy pts)Time is spent monitoring pts on various drips, transfuions, suctionning. At least 1 pt will have a dysrhythmia that will need close monitoring/external pacing/IV meds. An occassional tamponade or code blue to keep things from EVER getting boring. Oh yeah, paper work? The non personal care? That gets crammed into the end of the shift. Yup, my floor is nuts, post cardiothoracic, ENT, percutaneous cardiac interventions and heart transplants. Please don't generalize RN's as papers pushers!

    Thanks for reading!

    An answer to Hamlet in perfect iambic pentameter;

    "To live, and fully live


    THAT is the answer."
  9. by   CarolM
    I can give you a good reason why someone may go for an LPN instead of an RN:
    Here in Georgia, the HOPE Grant pays full tuition and fees at any of the State Technical Institutes or Tech Colleges for Georgia residents or military dependents -- but, the only Nursing program these institutions offer is the Practical (LPN) Nursing Program. This grant is not payable at the non-technical colleges in Georgia; there is a similar program, but you must have had a 3.0 GPA in high school and have graduated in 1993 or later. So, if one cannot afford to pay tuition at one of the state colleges or universities, this may be an attractive alternative, allowing one to become an LPN, get a decent-paying job, and support themselves and their family if they have one. And if they desire, they can upgrade to an ADN or BSN later after they are working and can afford it (or have employer tuition assistance). I don't know how many other states offer programs like this, but its a good way to get folks who otherwise couldn't attend school into the skilled workforce!

    CarolM
  10. by   Slowone
    Please don't generalize RN's as papers pushers!
    ......well....

    I feel this thread is generalizing LPN's as well.
    Less authority, not necesarily, I ran An Assisted living where I was supervisor to ALL nursing staff.
    Less pay? Not Necessarily...I made more money doing agency nursing that a lot of the regular staff RN's at certain facilities. Less responsiblity...I have a license to protect as well. I also must perform my nursing duties just like an RN, my duties may different in some cases but if I fail to do them correctly it certainly IS my responsiblity.
    As far as RN's being "paper pushers", in many settings they are unfortunately. The standards for care have become so impersonal that many RN's simply do not have time to do the "basics" (for lack of a better word). It sounds like FURBALL works in some sort of a specialized or critical care unit where typically LPN's are not utilized and therefore may not really be relavant to this issue.
    Ask any RN charge nurse in a LTC facility,.. "who does all the paperwork?" it would be that person and the LPN would be the one one the floor pushing meds and the CNA's are the one's truley doing the one to one.!!
    I know if I am paired w/ an RN, unless there is something that is beyond my scope of practice I will perform most nursing tasks during the shift, the RN will 9 times out of 10 primarily be charting. I don't think that speaks to any sort of laziness, RN's have no choice, it has now become a HUGE part of being an RN.
    and that is the simple fact.
    I love my job, I certainly have never felt beneath anybody because they have an RN behind their name. I am confident in what I know and my abilities as a nurse. I may go back to school to continue on, but my decision to do that would not be based on becoming more authoritative, making more money or having more responsibility. I habe those things already.

    Okay, I will hop down from my soapbox now.
    S
  11. by   realnursealso/LPN
    Well I became an LPN because I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it. The summer beforeI went to school, my husband lost his job, and he was the sole support of the family. Being a nurse was something I had thought about for a long time. It was a terrible feeling not to be able to help out in some way to contribute to our family money. That winter, I decided to go to LPN school.Now I was the quiter child in my family, so I was somewhat concerned about making sure this was what I wanted. When I told my father what I wanted to do, he said,"Why do you want to do that? You will just quit." So my original plan was to go to LPN school and if I liked it, to go on right after to get my RN. Everytime I got discouraged while going to school, I would remember what my dad said to me. The first 10 weeks of school were rough. At the end of those first 10 weeks of school, I had a 74.75 average...(75 was passing then)....but each day that passed it got better. And when I graduated, I got the only award I ever recieved going to school. Most Improved Student. My final average was almost a 90. Then when I got out, I decided to work for a while to help our finances. Well here I sit, 22yrs later still an LPN/RN wannabe. Oh and by the way, when I graduated my parents threw me a party. When we got back to my parents house after graduation, I walked up to my Dad with my diploma in my hand, and said,"This is for you Dad." He said,"What are you talking about? That is your diploma from nursing school." What I told him was that everytime I got discouraged with school, wanted to quit, or thought something was just too hard to learn, I thought of what he said when I told him I was going to become an LPN. He couldn't believe I still remebered what he said. So now I am 49, and still an LPN....I was 27 when I became an LPN. Maybe someday....I guess there is still time Pay had nothing to do with it.....confidence did. God Bless you and yours, and may God hold you all in the palm of his hand. Sorry, had to add, I am a professional nurse also. With my own license, too.
    Last edit by realnursealso/LPN on Oct 6, '01
  12. by   RRMLPN
    my 2 cents worth...I worked as a CNA for for a few years and enjoyed it very much, so the next natural step for me was to become an LPN and i have been for a little over 2 years now and i have learned so much from each postion. With a family to care for , at the time 1 year in school was much more reality based for me than the 2 years i would have had to take to obtain my RN.
    And i'm very happy i have progressed my career a level at a time.
    As for less pay... yes i do make less than a RN, however, money is not the reason i became a nurse, don't get me wrong, i would love to make more, but it is not my sole purpose for choosing the nursing field. And as for responsibility..while working in med/surg, a small hospital granted, the only thing i didn't do that the RN'S did was iv pushes ( and we did those in emergency situations) and laboring the mothers in LD. And in LTC where i am currently employed, I am the charge nurse and have just as much responsibility as the RN's do. I do plan on taking the next step and becoming an RN next year, not because of money or responsibility, I feel i am ready to move up so that i may broaden my knowledge base even more and branch off into a specialty. so basically for me, doing things one step at a time not only insured financial stability for my family, but also allowed me to see if i was truly meant to work in the nursing field. To see the big picture so to speak. lol.. i could ask you why did you become and RN instead of a doctor???? not being mean.. just trying to enlighten you.. have a great day
  13. by   LauraRN0501
    Originally posted by RRMLPN
    why did you become and RN instead of a doctor???? not being mean.. just trying to enlighten you.. have a great day
    LOL Love it!!! Great way to illustrate our differences!!!
  14. by   lpnandloveit1
    I became an Lpn because I love bedside nursing. I have no desire to become and Rn at this time. I am 47 years old and have been an Lpn for 26 years. that said I would like to make and observation. when things are quiet on this bb someone will ask this question or one like it, hoping for a battle royal.

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