LPNs: Myths and Misconceptions (Part III)

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

11,386 Views | 39 Comments

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) play a significant role in the delivery of healthcare in the United States and other countries, but numerous people continue to perpetuate some unfavorable falsehoods regarding LPNs. This is the third article of a four-part essay that aims to expose the biggest myths and misconceptions that plague today's LPN workforce.

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    LPNs: Myths and Misconceptions (Part III)

    Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) have provided basic nursing care in multiple countries for many years. Still, LPNs remain misunderstood in the world of healthcare, and this can be evidenced by the unfounded statements that other nurses and members of the public make on a continual basis.

    Numerous individuals have helped to spread inaccurate information about LPNs, and many of these people have never even worked one single day in the nursing profession. A handful of the most persistent myths regarding LPNs were discussed in part one and part two of this four-part essay. A few more negative myths are listed below.

    Myth number seven: LPNs are being phased out.

    This particular myth has been floating around since 1965, which is the same year that the American Nurses Association (ANA) had published a famous position paper stating that all nursing education in the United States should take place in institutions of higher education (a.k.a. colleges and universities). The paper suggested that all future nursing education be at the baccalaureate level or higher. After the release of the ANA position paper, people in the nursing profession started saying, "The LPNs, associate degree RNs, and diploma RNs are going to be phased out!"

    Here's what ended up happening. Three-year diploma programs used to be the most common way to educate and train RNs; however, these types of nursing programs were slowly phased out after the ANA published its position paper. Several thousand diploma programs existed in the US in 1965, but less than 100 still operate in 2012. However, LPN programs and associate degree RN programs rapidly increased in number during the same time period. Nearly 50 years has elapsed since the ANA position paper was released, and LPNs are still very much a part of the workforce.

    Myth number eight: All LPNs secretly resent RNs.

    Of course, every profession is going to have a few passive-aggressive members who use sabotage and insubordination to indirectly express their secretive resentments. However, not all LPNs secretly resent RNs. In fact, many LPNs respect RNs and would like to become one someday. Jealousy and resentment are not involved.

    Myth number nine: All LPNs have certificates or diplomas.

    Some LPNs have earned associate of applied science degrees in practical nursing. If you are interested, please click on the links below to read more about this educational pathway.

    http://www.msubillings.edu/cot/Progr...NursingAAS.htm
    http://umhelena.edu/catalog/nursing.aspx
    http://www.turtle-mountain.cc.nd.us/...SPNProgram.pdf
    http://www.anokatech.edu/commoncontent/subjectstostudy/practicalnursing/Admissions Guidelines AA12-13[1].pdf
    https://northseattle.edu/career/degr...ing-aas-degree
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 5, '12
    HazelLPN, PurpleViolet, TiddlDwink, and 5 others like this.
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  4. About TheCommuter

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter joined Feb '05 - from 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'. Age: 33 TheCommuter has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. Posts: 26,463 Likes: 36,532; Learn more about TheCommuter by visiting their allnursesPage Website


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    39 Comments so far...

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    Thank you again for the article. This article should be put into every Nursing School around the country!

    I applied for a job a while ago in an Urgent care center. The office manager told me the position was for a MA not LPN. I tried to tell her the ad said differently. She told me well they are phasing out LPNs anyways. I do not know why people even bother to become LPNs. I could have screamed when I heard that.

    Needless to say, I did not get the job. Oh well

    Thanks again for the articles
    HazelLPN and nursel56 like this.
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    Usually LPNs don't resent RNs,that's true, but you didn't mention that some LPNs are perfectly happy as they are and have NO desire to become an RN some day.
    CLUVRN, ruthalittle, ElSea, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from loriangel14
    Usually LPNs don't resent RNs,that's true, but you didn't mention that some LPNs are perfectly happy as they are and have NO desire to become an RN some day.
    Yes, I certainly did mention that some LPNs are happy with their roles and have no desire to become RNs. I mentioned this in part one of the four-part essay. Click on the link below to read more.

    http://allnurses.com/lpn-lvn-corner/...ns-746909.html
    PurpleViolet likes this.
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    LPNs are seriously under appreciated. LPN's are NURSES, just like RN's. Some are as dim as a lightbulb and some can run circles around an RN. The same goes for RN's.

    I was an LPN for 4 yrs while obtaining my RN. I don't regret going the LPN route and would do it again. I think it gave me a good foundation to becoming an RN.

    Like the OP said, I earned an associate degree and my LPN program was tough. It was run by two very strict crusty old bats. I learned to be professional and to use my critical thinking.
  9. 0
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Yes, I certainly did mention that some LPNs are happy with their roles and have no desire to become RNs. I mentioned this in part one of the four-part essay. Click on the link below to read more.http://allnurses.com/lpn-lvn-corner/...ns-746909.html
    Sorry.I meant in this article.
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    LPNs are still a part of the workforce but not necessarily in the same capacity, nor do I suspect in the same numbers.

    I work for a large hospital system in my state and LPNs are all but gone from this system. LPNs have been removed from critical care units and are only allowed to work in non-monitored areas. Some facilities in this system no longer have any LPNs. The few LPNs that are left are to be replaced with RNs when they choose to retire or leave through some other form of attrition.

    In other discussions on this board, there have also been numerous others who have testified to the same thing where they work.

    I make no judgement as to whether this is right or wrong, but am merely stating the facts as I know them.
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    Quote from GM2RN
    LPNs are still a part of the workforce but not necessarily in the same capacity, nor do I suspect in the same numbers.
    The hospital is not the only legitimate workplace for a nurse. Personally, I'm an RN with four years of LPN experience and have never worked one day in an acute care hospital.

    While hospital employment is on the decline for LPNs, they are a major part of the labor pool in nursing homes, hospices, home health, private duty, clinics, psychiatric hospitals, prisons and jails, assisted living facilities, group homes, adult day care centers, rehab facilities, and other healthcare facilities outside the inpatient hospital setting.
    mesa1979, TiddlDwink, and spectrabrite like this.
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    Ah the good ole phase out and resent RN myths. Will be glad to see both of those put to bed.

    The phase out myth refers to the idea that LPN's will be phased out forever, out of existence. Role redefinement happens in many industries nursing is no different.
  13. 0
    Quote from TheCommuter
    The hospital is not the only legitimate workplace for a nurse.

    Obviously.

    But LPNs were employed at other healthcare facilities before their numbers declined in hospitals. So based on the numbers of LPNs that I have seen decrease, I can't imagine that the other facilities are entirely picking up the slack; therefore, I would expect a net decline in total numbers.

    Does this mean that LPNs will be totally phased out? If so, not for a very long time. But it does mean that LPNs do not have same choices that they once did, and for some, it is a deciding factor in whether or not to go the LPN route, or even to stay in nursing at all if faced with loss of employment with a current employer.


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