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.
Apr 9, '12
I'm from Alberta, and while the LPNs and RNs do have different scopes, I find they are still quite similar. I have been on many clinical placements where we were buddied with LPNs even though I'm an RN student.
Here they are allowed to do complete assessments, teach patients and families, initiate and and maintain IVs, give every type of injection and medication (except they need an RN co-sign before giving narcotics), and, well, almost anything an RN can do.
The only things (so far) that I've noticed they can't do is be the charge nurse on the floor, spike a blood product, and the narcotics without the co-sign. I've heard that "LPNs do the work, RNs do the paperwork" thing before - NOT true (unless you're a manager or a charge or work in community, where there is always more paperwork) - but they both have the same amount of signing and charting to do no matter what your title is!
In the end, I do believe we get taught more initially about the rationale behind why we do what we do - but much of the time, I'm going to trust a 10+ year LPN over my brand-new grad ideas. It seems like RNs have more of an opening to get their masters, doctorates, NPs, etc, and they push that here if you plan on becoming an RN. The government is trying to phase out RNs and hire LPNs with the rationale that they're the same thing. Instead, they want to RNs to go into NP roles to relieve the physician shortage here or focus on teaching.
I personally know a lot of people who were trying to get into the RN programs but didn't make the marks, so they went for LPN or RPN instead. A lot of them were still happy they could do what they wanted, be done sooner, have a stable career, provide for their families, etc. And for others, it was probably a good thing they only spent the 2 years in school for LPN, since they worked for a few months and found out that hated it.
The only down-fall here, though, is that you get no recognition if you're an LPN and want to become an RN - they make you start the 4 years from scratch!
I went for RN because I knew it was what I wanted, and I wanted to have the masters and NP options open for me when I finished.
Last edit by nurse_kirsten on Apr 9, '12
: Reason: add info