Tell me why an LVN/LPN is a "real nurse"

  1. Hey allnurses!
    So today I was upset by a comment/question one of my coworkers made.
    I am currently working as a CNA but I graduated from an LPN program and passed the NCLEX (currently looking for an LPN job). I don't want to let people know that I passed the boards or that I'm looking for a job, so as far as they know, I've only graduated from the program.

    Anyway, today one of my coworkers asked me if I was a nurse, I said "no, not yet" she then asked "but you went to school to be a nurse right?" I said "yes I did" she then asked "so are you going to be a real nurse, or just an LPN?" I was VERY bothered by this question and I absolutely DESPISE when people don't see LPNs as nurses.

    LPN, for people who are ignorant, stands for Licensed vocational NURSE! LPNs need to take and pass the NCLEX (the board examination that "real nurses" take) to be able to work as a NURSE. We need to apply and get accepted into a program which is NOT very easy. We study human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, AND pass those courses with A's or B's to get into a program. We spend clinical hours in various settings not only shadowing nurses but also getting hands on experience as the role of a NURSE. We've been in clinics, hospitals, long term care facilities, sub acute, psych units. I've passed meds (PO, SQ, IM), I've seen a live birth (assisted as much as I was allowed), Did trach care, reported with other nurses/doctors... I mean, I'm not going to go on and explain what I did as an LPN/LVN student. Point is, I went to school to study to be a NURSE, period. I passed the NURSING board to practice as a NURSE in my state. I really hate to be label as "just an LVN", "LVN" or "Not a real nurse". I'm a NURSE, darn it! And just because I did LPN/LVN doesn't mean it was easy, it was a very complicated, long, difficult journey!!

    So, Why do people think that LVN's are not nurses? Is there a reason I don't know about as to why LVN/LPNs are not respected as "real nurses"?
    Just wanted to know reasons why we ARE nurses. Maybe there's something I don't know.
    Also, just to have reasons to tell other people why we ARE nurses. The only thing I was able to tell my coworker was that we do everything "real nurses" do except IVs (even then some states can do IV's).

    Thanks guys, just a little annoyed, can't formulate words that well lol
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  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    You are very much a nurse. I don't understand why some of the differences in scope of practice exist in my state, either, and I've worked alongside LPNs for YEARS.

    Where I live, LPNs may not:
    - perform IV pushes
    - draw blood from central lines or establish any sort of IV medication connected to a central line (if the tubing is already in use for maintenance fluids, a piggyback antibiotic may be hung, for example)
    - perform initial assessments, including initial post-operative assessments

    Those are really the only differences in scope I've noticed. I think that LPNs are not allowed to titrate any sort of drip, either, but I'm not sure. Because I didn't go through LPN school myself, I have no idea what's taught in those programs and what is not. I think it all comes down to assessments vs. "tasks," honestly.
  4. by   MunoRN
    Quote from PrettyNerd
    Hey allnurses!
    So today I was upset by a comment/question one of my coworkers made.
    I am currently working as a CNA but I graduated from an LPN program and passed the NCLEX (currently looking for an LPN job). I don't want to let people know that I passed the boards or that I'm looking for a job, so as far as they know, I've only graduated from the program.

    Anyway, today one of my coworkers asked me if I was a nurse, I said "no, not yet" she then asked "but you went to school to be a nurse right?" I said "yes I did" she then asked "so are you going to be a real nurse, or just an LPN?" I was VERY bothered by this question and I absolutely DESPISE when people don't see LPNs as nurses.

    LPN, for people who are ignorant, stands for Licensed vocational NURSE! LPNs need to take and pass the NCLEX (the board examination that "real nurses" take) to be able to work as a NURSE. We need to apply and get accepted into a program which is NOT very easy. We study human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, AND pass those courses with A's or B's to get into a program. We spend clinical hours in various settings not only shadowing nurses but also getting hands on experience as the role of a NURSE. We've been in clinics, hospitals, long term care facilities, sub acute, psych units. I've passed meds (PO, SQ, IM), I've seen a live birth (assisted as much as I was allowed), Did trach care, reported with other nurses/doctors... I mean, I'm not going to go on and explain what I did as an LPN/LVN student. Point is, I went to school to study to be a NURSE, period. I passed the NURSING board to practice as a NURSE in my state. I really hate to be label as "just an LVN", "LVN" or "Not a real nurse". I'm a NURSE, darn it! And just because I did LPN/LVN doesn't mean it was easy, it was a very complicated, long, difficult journey!!

    So, Why do people think that LVN's are not nurses? Is there a reason I don't know about as to why LVN/LPNs are not respected as "real nurses"?
    Just wanted to know reasons why we ARE nurses. Maybe there's something I don't know.
    Also, just to have reasons to tell other people why we ARE nurses. The only thing I was able to tell my coworker was that we do everything "real nurses" do except IVs (even then some states can do IV's).

    Thanks guys, just a little annoyed, can't formulate words that well lol
    Just to clarify, LPN's don't actually take the same NCLEX that RNs take, they take the NCLEX-PN.

    LPN's are certainly nurses and play an important role in caring for patients, although they aren't really equivocal to Registered Nurses where a 2 year core nursing program is done, which is significantly different than a 1 year LPN program.
  5. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    If it makes you feel any better, every once in a while, i get the backhanded compliment "you're so smart, why didn't you go to medical school."
  6. by   Sour Lemon
    You are very easy to offend and probably fun to pick on because of it ...although I get the feeling "real nurse" was probably used in a playful, mocking way in this instance. Toughen up because you're going to hear it from patients on occasion, too ...especially if you're in a state where LVNs are unable to give IV narcotics.
  7. by   quiltynurse56
    LPN/LVN's are REAL nurses. Period, end of discussion
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    Universal Truth #427: Some people are just jerks.
  9. by   NurseSpeedy
    You are a nurse.

    I am an LPN. I am also an RN. I have both licenses and passed both different NCLEX exams.

    When I had only my LPN I was constantly asked why didn't I get my RN or when was I going to go and get my RN.

    Now I have my RN and guess what I get asked now? When am I/why don't I go on and get my NP...um, because I don't want to be an NP? I'm quite happy where I'm at thank you!
  10. by   HappytobeARNP
    You take care of REAL people, give REAL medicine, follow REAL orders, and save REAL lives. Just repeat this to any naysayers and watch them fumble for words. You are a REAL nurse.
  11. by   Ruas61
    People can be ridiculous and ignorant.

    That is one of the great things of being a nurse.

    You can enter at different levels and go in many directions.

    They is nothing wrong with being or staying as an LPN or at any level you wish.

    Like life, nursing is not one sizes fits all.
  12. by   fibroblast
    The person that said that probably was not a nurse, RN or LVN, and was probably someone who hasn't been through nursing school? What I have learned is that co-workers will say 'just an LVN' because they aren't a nurse and knows it takes hard work to get through the program.
  13. by   soutthpaw
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    You are very easy to offend and probably fun to pick on because of it ...although I get the feeling "real nurse" was probably used in a playful, mocking way in this instance. Toughen up because you're going to hear it from patients on occasion, too ...especially if you're in a state where LVNs are unable to give IV narcotics.
    You just stated that you find it fun to pick on people who are easily offended or vulnerable!!!! Hope I never have to work with you or worse, be one of your patients if that is the kind of person you are! maybe you need to add an additional title to your username Sour Lemon, RH, Bully.
    You can try and rationalize, normalize and dismiss your own comment, now you have been called out on it, but it does not change the facts... I am sure you are a source of horizontal violence where you work too. IMHO, of course
  14. by   That Guy
    LPN - Little Play Nurse

    RN - Real nurse

    Just kidding. My wife is an LPN and a much better nurse than me any day of the week. Our state allows LPNs that are iv certified to do central line draws/meds, push iv meds except a few meds, etc etc. Ive got zero problems with LPNs, they are real nurses, just wish we would utilize them more on the floors.

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