LPN vs. RN

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    I learned in class yesterday the scope of practice of LPN's and it seems to me very limited. Is there a reason one would chose to become an LPN over an RN?

    (i know some do it bc of $ or as a step to RN) but some stay at LPN for 20+ years.

    Clarification please. Id like to understand their use and scope a little bit better

    Thanks in advance.
    Joe V likes this.
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  5. 2
    Quote from Pneumothorax
    I learned in class yesterday the scope of practice of LPN's and it seems to me very limited. Is there a reason one would chose to become an LPN over an RN?

    (i know some do it bc of $ or as a step to RN) but some stay at LPN for 20+ years.

    Clarification please. Id like to understand their use and scope a little bit better

    Thanks in advance.
    I think it varies with the person. I became an LVN because it was quick, easy, required no pre-req's, and could later be used to obtain RN licensure if I decided I "liked" the field of nursing. I had no healthcare background prior to becoming an LVN and did not really want to invest the 3+ years of schooling required to become an RN if I wasn't sure nursing was for me.

    Once I became an LVN and saw how limited we are, I did regret that I hadn't just finished a few more pre-req's and gone straight to RN (i.e. "real nurse") school. Hindsight is 20/20, though.

    The scope of practice for an LVN or LPN varies considerably with each state, and you'll have to check your state's practical nurse practice act to find out the exact details. Here in CA, like I said, we are very limited. To give a few examples -- we can't assess, we can't touch IV's without special certification (and even then can only give NS), we can't touch central lines at all (unless to change a dressing), we can't take verbal orders, and we can't initiate any patient teaching.
    GrnTea and prettymica like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from lvnmum
    I think it varies with the person. I became an LVN because it was quick, easy, required no pre-req's, and could later be used to obtain RN licensure if I decided I "liked" the field of nursing. I had no healthcare background prior to becoming an LVN and did not really want to invest the 3+ years of schooling required to become an RN if I wasn't sure nursing was for me.

    Once I became an LVN and saw how limited we are, I did regret that I hadn't just finished a few more pre-req's and gone straight to RN (i.e. "real nurse") school. Hindsight is 20/20, though.

    The scope of practice for an LVN or LPN varies considerably with each state, and you'll have to check your state's practical nurse practice act to find out the exact details. Here in CA, like I said, we are very limited. To give a few examples -- we can't assess, we can't touch IV's without special certification (and even then can only give NS), we can't touch central lines at all (unless to change a dressing), we can't take verbal orders, and we can't initiate any patient teaching.
    ya its the same here in IL and something else. and honestly sounds kind of stupid to me. Like I think anyone should be taught how to assess a patient. its not rocket science and it would probably help the RN's out (if they had lpns in their unit / facility) to do the morning assessment so the RN could handle the other stuff that gets piled on during the day...

    same thing with patient teaching. seriously? ..i dont even wanna go there
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    Scope varies wildly by state. I went to LPN school because I'm an idiot who likes to get paid way less for the same work (in the rehab I work in I have the same exact duties and job description as the RNs on the floor) and I enjoy the constant insults regarding RNs being "real nurses" etc.
    ElSea, NsugaBuga, MUUGUZI, and 6 others like this.
  8. 5
    Quote from NotFlo
    Scope varies wildly by state. I went to LPN school because I'm an idiot who likes to get paid way less for the same work (in the rehab I work in I have the same exact duties and job description as the RNs on the floor) and I enjoy the constant insults regarding RNs being "real nurses" etc.
    thats no good

    in my post above yours i wasnt insulting LPN's, i was actually trying to say its stupid that as LPN's you cant do pt teaching or assessments or what have you.
  9. 0
    LPN = Licensed to Play Nurse
    RN = Real Nurse

    I became an LPN really though because my schooling was paid for where as if I went to become an RN I would have had to pay. I am going back for my RN now that my income will more than double. But I was told that LPNs know what to do and RNs know why to do it. As in the LPN does more hands-on and the RN does the paperwork, so to speak. HTH!
  10. 1
    Quote from lvnmum

    The scope of practice for an LVN or LPN varies considerably with each state, and you'll have to check your state's practical nurse practice act to find out the exact details. Here in CA, like I said, we are very limited. To give a few examples -- we can't assess, we can't touch IV's without special certification (and even then can only give NS), we can't touch central lines at all (unless to change a dressing), we can't take verbal orders, and we can't initiate any patient teaching.
    I'm in CA and some of the above sound like facility restrictions. To clarify. In CA LVN's can assess we just can't do the initial admission assessment. The IV certification allows us to give any of the clear fluids AND to do blood infusions (although no facilities allow us to do legally we can) Verbal orders yes we can, same thing for patient teaching. We just can't do the care plan.

    All of the above are skills that are vital to my job as a field hospice LVN. Our scope of practice is really not that bad considering the differences in the length of our education just be aware most of the restrictions on our scope of practice comes from the facility.


    As for reasons for being an RN. For me it was a taste test into nursing. Also many of my classmates never intend to be RN's. LVN is a nice job for them to have. Not as stressful as the RN role, it has most of its jobs away from the hospital ( though I would prefer to be in the hospital many LVN's prefer the opposite ) I'm trying to think of an analogy that's not going to be misconstrued. Hmm. Ok its like this. Some people prefer to ride ponies instead of horses. They are closer to the ground and it doesn't hurt as much when you fall.
    nursel56 likes this.
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    I became an LPN so I could find a RN program. They're just easier to get into here if you already an LPN. It was expensive since LPN schools out here where I am tend to be private which means more expensive. I got my LPN in a year but the 2 year nursing program I'm in (unfortunately couldn't bridge) is so much cheaper, with the exception of the books.

    In IL most LPNs don't get hired in hospitals and I've heard the ones who do usually function as CNA's. They're not given much responsibility at all. Sub-acute rehab facilities and nursing homes though I haven't really noticed much of a difference except we can't hang IV's for PICCs, midlines or blood products, dispose of narcotics (this might have been my companies policy actually) and a few other things I don't remember off the bat.
  12. 9
    This whole conversation is so sad to me. People all have different reasons for becoming different levels.
    Some have a limited amount of money. Children to care for and cannot spare 2-4 years out of their children's lives.
    Some have to travel hundreds of miles for one program when another is just a few blocks from home. Some are in a second career, and they only have a few more working years before they plan to retire.

    And let me interject they ALL BECOME NURSES! An LPN/LVN is a NURSE!
    ElSea, MUUGUZI, nursel56, and 6 others like this.
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    LVP/LPN is a great stepping stone. I was a CNA, now almost done with my LVN and I see it as a great accomplishment and will credit towards ASN or BSN when the time comes
    nursel56 and Wild Irish LPN like this.


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