No respect for LVN's/LPN's

  1. I won't go into all the details of what happened to me today. I'm just getting off my shift and wanted to vent. The jist of it is I had a negative exchange with my supervior today. I questioned why we were taking a particular approach in patient care and her response was an eye roll and the statement: "Your just an LVN, you don't have the know how to make that call". Words cannot describe how her comment has brought me down.

    I'm a recent grad ( working on the unit for about four months). School was time consuming and draining and it seems like we all work so hard to get where we are. There are still places I want to go and I won't stop until I at least have my BSN, but I chose this route for a reason.


    The problem is that since I have been out of school it seems like people in general don't have much respect for LVN's. Administrators, nursing supervisors, doctors, CNA's, even family members at times. People always ask that dreaded question: "Oh, you're a nurse? RN?" Followed by body language that reveals an obvious lack of faith in my abilities once I say I'm a LVN. All this, not to mention the fact that I feel stifled, like there are no opportunities out there for me as "just an LVN". Anybody have any thoughts on this. I'm just feeling very down right now, and yearning for the respect I feel I deserve as a nurse.
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Jen01tx
    I won't go into all the details of what happened to me today. I'm just getting off my shift and wanted to vent. The jist of it is I had a negative exchange with my supervior today. I questioned why we were taking a particular approach in patient care and her response was an eye roll and the statement: "Your just an LVN, you don't have the know how to make that call". Words cannot describe how her comment has brought me down.
    No one else's comment can bring you down without your consent. You have allowed this person's comment to bring you down, and be assured that your supervisor isn't losing one second of sleep over this issue.

    Negative exchanges need to be confronted at the moment they occur. As soon as your supervisor made the statement, you should immediately respond with a question or comment. "Can you explain that further?" "Why do you feel that way?" "I feel you're being negative." "Is there any reason for the negativity?"

    The disrespect issue has been far less of a problem for me in nursing homes, where the LVN is the charge nurse, primary nurse, assistant director of nursing, and so on. Once families find out I'm an LVN, they're usually supportive. However, I did feel the lack of respect in the hospital setting.
  4. by   pagandeva2000
    When I am confronted with such comments, I address it. I usually say something like "I am licensed to administer this care, and I feel I have a right to know and question before I do something" or "this is a patient safety issue, and if I am about to follow through with something, I would like to know so that I won't have to ask you next time" or "I want to use this as an opportunity to learn". Usually, that shuts them up.

    Believe it or not, even some RNs are disrespected. Some of them give the illusion of respect and power, but behind the scenes, they are chastised, humiliated and are unsure themselves. It is not about the title, it is about how you carry yourself. Don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be ashamed of what you are doing now-being an LPN. Of course, you plan to go further, and you should, if you desire to. But, don't let it be because of the illusion that you will automatically treat you better, because that is not always the case. TheCommuter is correct. No one can degrade you without permission. I don't let them get me down. I do the best I can within my scope of practice. Those that choose not to appreciate my talents, I do let them 'be the RN'...and many times, they walk away with egg on their faces.
  5. by   Jen01tx
    Thanks for the advice. I think I will be better prepared next time such a situation arises.
  6. by   Fiona59
    In all honesty, our surgeons just look at us as nurses. They haven't figured out who is a RN and who is LPN. They know they trust as professional nurses.

    Unfortunately, the only "off" comments I've ever had has been from RN family members who just decide that we are all RNs and thank heavens Daddy has you as a nurse. We've burst more than one ego when they've discovered the nurse who takes the post op patient from PACU through to discharge is a LPN. The line between our duties is so fine in my hospital we are judged on our skills and attitude more than our license. If I need a RN to spike the blood or TPN bag, so be it. After that little layer of plastic has been broken the patient is my responsibility.

    LPNs have more experience in dealing with geriatrics in my area than RNs, so in the active treatment hospital our assesment of seniors is valued. We are trained to be able to approach the family and discuss the behaviours and dementias that we are seeing more and more in our aging population. We know what meds may not be the best for dementia patients and most of us are pretty good at watching out for those in our care.

    So look at the source of the comments. Chances are they are miserable about something in their lives and taking it out where they feel safe and powerful.
  7. by   SuesquatchRN
    I have to say that, as an LPN, I was actively discouraged from learning and questioning. I'm close to becoming an RN and wonder if it's the same.

    One thing that I will tell you: I hate when a nurse introduces herself as an RN rather than a nurse. I have a vision on continuing to say nurse and then, when asked, "Oh, RN?" answering, "Yes. Why do you ask?" Let them squirm a little about being so nosy about my level of education. Who would think of asking a teacher if they had a doctorate?
  8. by   AngelaLPN08
    I know as a LPN at my school we have more clinical practice and preceptor hours than most RN programs. I have yet to have any problems where I have been disrespected by a RN. I have been treated like garbage from CNA's as a student. But I think it was the fact I'm 25 and they were 60!

    All I can say is don't let them take your energy away! Stay positive!
  9. by   Fiona59
    Quote from Suesquatch
    I have to say that, as an LPN, I was actively discouraged from learning and questioning. I'm close to becoming an RN and wonder if it's the same.
    I've only ever encountered this attitude twice. Once in a province that under utilizes their LPNs and once from a dinosaur RN that told me we were taking RN jobs (and this in a province with a massive labour shortage). I reported the comment to the manager in charge of the job site and she spent 20 minutes trying to talk me out of quitting and apologizing and trying to reassure me that this was not the health authority's attitude. I still quit the job (it was only temporary and I just wanted the experience) because I already work for the authority and know their attitude is supportive.

    Education is encouraged. While they won't pay us to upgrade to RN (it's not as simple up here as it is in the US), they will pay for us to attend work shops, to obtain specialty certificates, and to take on site education days.

    I've been encouraged to ask questions, to do research and learn, learn, learn. Our input is encouraged on rounds because we know the patients and how the recovery process is going. It doesn't matter if it's the surgeon, the resident, or clinical RN specialist, they accept our input and base their orders upon it.

    At the end of the day, it's the bedside nurse who knows if the patient is eating, voiding, participating in their recovery, how the wound is healing. And the LPN is the bedside nurse. I've worked shifts where it's been six LPNs, one RN, and one Charge RN. No patient suffered or recieved poor care.
  10. by   SuesquatchRN
    Well, this is why I wonder if it is the initials or the US nursing culture.

    It isn't simple here to move from LPN to RN. It takes significant work, and for many a lot of sacrifice. The route I took isn't accepted in many states and LPN-to-RN bridge programs are few and far between, and very expensive.

    LPN's can also get all of the certs here, but they still make significantly less than RN's for almost equivalent responsibility.
  11. by   Fiona59
    What I meant is we have no PN-RN bridge, nor do we have ADN diplomas. If we want to go to RN, we have to enter the second year of the four year BScN degree, if there is space available.

    The PN education in my province is basically the old two year RN diploma that was offered by our community colleges (they are different from US ones) and the old hospital based training programmes.
  12. by   amjowens
    My clinical instructor first semester "only" had her RN, and was going back to school to get her BSN. She said nurses in her area cared whether a nurse has a BSN or RN, and she felt the need to keep up, even though she knows all that she knows. Another example, my boyfriend, a resident physician, tells stories of how a resident's specialty means a lot toward getting respect or not. Apparently primary care is the bottom of the barrel...

    People with poor character are constantly trying to find someone who might make them feel elevated. Unfortunately, this goes on in almost every field. Hopefully you can find the strength to see it for what it is, and not take it personally.

    Right now LPNs aren't being treated well in a lot of areas. Where I live, hospitals aren't even hiring LPNs. That doesn't do anything but send a bad message to the very people who might be quick to judge. It's sad.

    Either LPNs better get tough (overlook the disrespect/lack of opportunity given), or get their RN (at least), as far as I can see. Too bad, as LPNs deserve so much respect.
  13. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from amjowens
    My clinical instructor first semester "only" had her RN, and was going back to school to get her BSN. She said nurses in her area cared whether a nurse has a BSN or RN, and she felt the need to keep up, even though she knows all that she knows. Another example, my boyfriend, a resident physician, tells stories of how a resident's specialty means a lot toward getting respect or not. Apparently primary care is the bottom of the barrel...

    People with poor character are constantly trying to find someone who might make them feel elevated. Unfortunately, this goes on in almost every field. Hopefully you can find the strength to see it for what it is, and not take it personally.

    Right now LPNs aren't being treated well in a lot of areas. Where I live, hospitals aren't even hiring LPNs. That doesn't do anything but send a bad message to the very people who might be quick to judge. It's sad.

    Either LPNs better get tough (overlook the disrespect/lack of opportunity given), or get their RN (at least), as far as I can see. Too bad, as LPNs deserve so much respect.

    It is true, that many try to keep up with the Joneses on a scholastic level, because of what is 'in' at the time. I don't know of everyone's personal experiences, but the times I felt disrespected, I spoke on it immediately and then, the conduct in which I carried myself gave me respect. Most times, people feel that I 'need to become an RN' because they feel that I carry myself 'so professionally'. My response to them is usually that because I have the word 'nurse' in my title, I have to know my stuff. I do the best I can within my scope and that is it.

    It is true that this happens everywhere and in all levels of nursing. I have seen Patient Care Technicians snub their noses at Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides because of being able to do a few skills more. ICU RNs downgrading Med-Surg nurses and so on. It will never stop, so, you have to come to a certain level of peace from within because the compliments and respect desired may not actually come from the outsiders, no matter how high up the level you get.
  14. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from pagandeva2000
    you have to come to a certain level of peace from within because the compliments and respect desired may not actually come from the outsiders, no matter how high up the level you get.

    Well said.

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