I know this is a touchy subject and I don't want it to become a flame war. As someone with RN training and no LPN experience, I'm still honestly confused by these two different nurse licenses.... so here goes...
Many say "a nurse is a nurse" but that's not always the case. There is different designation and licensing for RNs and LPNs. And facilities often advertise "LPN openings" - but if a nurse is a nurse, why would they ever advertise for just LPNs? Wouldn't it just be a nursing job which either an LPN or RN could fill? And then other positions would be RN-only.
Unless an RN has been an LPN, it IS confusing to RNs what LPNs are and aren't legally qualified to do and why they aren't legally qualified to do certain things yet often function in an almost identical role RNs (eg only can't do initial assessments and hang blood in acute care). We all know that many LPNs have great assessment skills and technical skills and critical thinking skills. A patient wouldn't recognize any difference between a good LPN and a good RN. In that case, "a nurse is a nurse."
But then what more exactly did the RN learn in their program to allow them to qualify for significantly more pay than LPNs in most facilities? Why ISN'T an LPN allowed to do an initial assessment or hang blood? It wouldn't take that much extra formal training to bring them formally up to speed on these tasks and include that in their scope of practice. So what more does the RN education have to offer in regard to actually practicing nursing in most settings?
So, for those of you who worked as LPNs and then became RNs, looking back, would you make any changes to LPN training or to the LPN role to more clearly distinguish between the two roles and responsibilities?
Can you point out any specific aspects of the RN program that especially brought home the differences you now perceive?
Last edit by jjjoy on Jun 15, '07