LPNs: Myths and Misconceptions (Part I) - page 2
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) have impacted the delivery of healthcare in a positively beneficial manner in multiple countries for many years. In fact, the role of the LPN has been in existence... Read More
2Jun 27, '12 by MahzieLPNQuote from TheCommuterThank you for this extremely accurate assessment of life as an LPN! Everyone is correct; our choice to be hands-on and at the bedside are constantly questioned and even challenged. As said early on, some LPNs aren't as sharp as others, just as that applies up the ladder/across the profession. There are "clunkers" in EVERY profession. Keep up the good work; love this site, and thank you again!Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) have impacted the delivery of healthcare in a positively beneficial manner in multiple countries for many years. In fact, the role of the LPN has been in existence for several generations. However, LPNs remain largely misunderstood in the sphere of nursing, and this can be evidenced by the boldly inaccurate statements that are routinely made by other nurses and members of the public.
The rampant spread of distorted information about LPNs can be traced back to numerous people, some of whom have never even worked one day in the healthcare field. A few of the most persistent myths regarding LPNs are listed below.
Myth number one: LPNs are not real nurses.
Some individuals have made light of the LPN acronym and have insisted that it stands for 'Little Pretend Nurse.' Other people have bluntly stated that LPNs are not real nurses. However, this could not be farther from the truth. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a nurse who has successfully completed a practical nursing program, and has passed the NCLEX-PN, the state licensing exam (Palm Beach State College, n.d.). LPNs are definitely nurses who are valid members of the nursing profession. After all, what do people really think that the 'N' in 'LPN' represents?
Myth number two: LPNs are not equipped to care for patients.
Some nurse managers, leaders of nursing organizations, and nursing educators have expressed their opinions that LPNs are not adequately equipped to provide care to patients due to the complex nature of the different disease processes that present to the healthcare system. However, LPNs have completed a high proportion of hands-on clinical hours during their training programs. They have been able to hold their own as nurses in multiple practice settings, including acute care, long-term care, psychiatric nursing, jail
/prison nursing, home health, private duty, rehab nursing, and so forth. They have also been more than capable of learning about the complex issues that afflict their patients.
Myth number three: All LPNs secretly wish they could be RNs.
It is true that many LPNs want to be registered nurses (RNs), and some are actively pursuing their goals by returning to school. However, there are many nurses who are perfectly satisfied with their careers as LPNs, and therefore, have no burning desire to become RNs. Some people would say, "Why would anyone in their right mind want to stay an LPN?" These people need to be reminded that practical nursing is a respectable career pathway that has satisfied many LPNs professionally and personally.
The overriding goal of this four-part essay is to debunk and/or challenge the deeply ingrained misconceptions about LPNs. Please do not hesitate to correct the next person who says something blatantly inaccurate about the LPN workforce. Each and every one of us shares some responsibility for putting a stop to the myths, lies, and insults regarding LPNs. We can make a difference, one person at a time.
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0Jun 27, '12 by ShaunaJaNae777I think many folks fail to realize what it will take to get you where you want to go. Sure LPNs can be just as great as a RN however if you plan to further your career and plan on getting a masters or PHD, an LPN license is NOT going to cut it and you will have to go back to school to obtain a bachelors. Honestly why run in circles when you can just kill two birds with one stone. Just saying.
6Jun 27, '12 by valgravesthank you for this article....i am in my mid 30s....i am starting the LPN program in VA (eastern shore cc) in august....then i plan to work, and obtain my RN part time while working. there are actually a lot of jobs here where i live for all nurses of every level. I may even go for my BSN after obtaining my ADN..but in little steps. sure, i could get my BSN NOW, in about 2 more yrs.....OR, i coud go 2 more semesters, obtain my LPN and start working, so instead of full time schooling for 2 more straight years, i can be working and helping my husband support our family, while going to school part time for my ADN then BSN....
I had a very hugh risk pregnancy my last go around (i have three beautiful kiddos, 3,2 and 1), and spent the majority of the 2nd and 3rd trimesters in the hospital, alot of that time in the L&D dept.....and the best nurse i had there, was an LPN. she was very caring, eased a lot of my fears, did her job incredibly well, and I am very lucky to have had her. my husband asked her so where did you get your RN? Knowing I wanted to become a nurse.....and she said "I'm not an RN, I am an LPN", and we passed the time before my C-section, talking about how she went through school, and answered many of my questions".....LPN's, in my opinion, are Just as good as RN's are.
...and BOO to any RN that thinks they are "better" than an LPN. More education, or letters behind your name does not equal "better" nurse, by any means.
2Jun 28, '12 by annabumQuote from BlessedShauna777I think many folks fail to realize what it will take to get you where you want to go. Sure LPNs can be just as great as a RN however if you plan to further your career and plan on getting a masters or PHD, an LPN license is NOT going to cut it and you will have to go back to school to obtain a bachelors. Honestly why run in circles when you can just kill two birds with one stone. Just saying.
I plan on receiving my masters. However, I am starting in the LPN program, not because I'm "running in circles". I was in the bachelors program but I felt like the class size was to large to learn such valuable information, along with cost and no schedule flexibility. I chose to attend the LPN program so I not only gain experience through clinical but I further prepare myself for the RN program. In essence it should only take me 3 years after that to receive my bachelors - same amount of time if I stayed at my old college. so why not be a step ahead? I feel as though more people should do that route because so many spend so much time in class and not enough hands on, then what? when I'm a nurse I want to be sure of my intelligence regarding a situation as well as my skill.Last edit by annabum on Jun 28, '12
4Jun 28, '12 by nursel56 GuideQuote from BlessedShauna777I think most people realize that if you want to climb to a higher rung on a ladder you need to master the rung preceding it. I believe the point would be that not everyone wants an MSN or a DNP, not that they are perplexed by what comes between an LPN and a master's or practice doctorate. I think it's fair to infer from myth number three that if not every LPN secretly wants to be an RN, they won't be likely to secretly wish they had an advanced practice degree.I think many folks fail to realize what it will take to get you where you want to go. Sure LPNs can be just as great as a RN however if you plan to further your career and plan on getting a masters or PHD, an LPN license is NOT going to cut it and you will have to go back to school to obtain a bachelors. Honestly why run in circles when you can just kill two birds with one stone. Just saying.
2Jun 28, '12 by TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorQuote from BlessedShauna777Did you happen to read myth number three?Sure LPNs can be just as great as a RN however if you plan to further your career and plan on getting a masters or PHD, an LPN license is NOT going to cut it and you will have to go back to school to obtain a bachelors.
It is a total myth that every LPN wants to become an RN. Believe it or not, many LPNs have absolutely no desire to earn a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree. Therefore, the LPN license is enough to meet their professional goals.
4Jun 30, '12 by slimlvnI, too, am a LVN of over 30 years. Tried going back for my RN but the school used the HESI midcurricular against me and because I missed it by 1.8 I can not return to the school.
I am so proud of my work experiences, education and the knowledge of truly knowing how to care for the most important people in the equation; the patients. I have had so many occasions where the patients have stated 'I'm so glad to have you' taking care of me.
There should be some unity in this profession; we all have to do the bathing, the cleaning, and everything that goes with the territory so please allow us to be respected and not under appreciated.
Thank you, Commuter, for never forgetting that you were once an LPN and that you still care for them very much as evidenced by this article.
1Jul 2, '12 by nursemartin00I have been an LPN for 7 years now. I have no desire to become a RN. I love my home health job and wouldn't make much more as a RN. Certainly not enough to be put through pure hell of nursing school for yet another year. No thanks! I have heard the expression, oh, you are just an LPN a million times before and I just don't let it get to me. Anyone who would ever say that has obviously never been to nursing school or walked in my shoes so shame on them and their ignorance.
0Jul 12, '12 by hubcap56I decided to change careers when I was in my 40's. I took an LPN course with the intention of working after graduation and going to school to get my BSN. I got a job right out of school as a hospice LPN and started working on my BSN. I soon realized that the RNs were all case managers--the ones who did the assessments, got doctors' orders, and did all the paperwork. The CNAs and the LPNs did the patient care. My goal from the beginning was to be a hospice nurse; I wanted to take care of patients at the end of life. Although I have tremendous respect for the roles of hospice social workers, chaplains, and administrators, they were not the people I wanted to work with day in and day out. I wanted to do hands-on care of patients and help educate family members on end-of-life issues. I stopped working on my BSN because I did not want to do the job it would have prepared me for.
I have been a hospice LPN for eight years now and I have never regretted not becoming an RN. I have worked with two women who possessed RN licenses but chose to practice under their LPN licenses because they just wanted to do hands-on patient care. So, it is true that there are LPNs out here who love what they do.