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As an LPN, I can't help but feel like I'm not a "real nurse"

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Hi All,

I've been an LPN for about 3 years and I work in LTC. Whenever the topic of my job comes up I can't help but notice that people are disappointed in my response. First I'm an LPN and not an RN and then I work in LTC and not a hospital ... Anyone else? How do you deal with it?

Thanks!


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Well, the solution is to become an RN. Do it now while you are young or you can face a career of feeling “lesser than” at a lesser rate of pay. There are so many more ads for RN positions over LPN/LVN positions on the employment websites. That alone should be enough incentive.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

While you cannot change how people respond to you, you can control how you respond to them.

As stated above, if you feel like you need to take the next step, go ahead and complete an LPN to RN program. If you are happy with where you are, don’t let the comments of those who don’t know the ins and outs of your job make you feel bad.

9 hours ago, caliotter3 said:

Well, the solution is to become an RN. Do it now while you are young or you can face a career of feeling “lesser than” at a lesser rate of pay. There are so many more ads for RN positions over LPN/LVN positions on the employment websites. That alone should be enough incentive.

This is really not a good response. Feel free to ignore this person.

LPNs are highly valuable. There are a ton of ads for LPN positions. I had no trouble finding work as an LPN. Home care agencies rely heavily on LPNs and could not exist without us. There are also clinics, rural hospitals, emergency rooms in certain states (NC and TX), certain mental hospitals, jails and schools that all need LPNs besides your SNFs. Certain states are letting LPNs do IVs and blood draws as well.

I make really good money for an LPN in home health. I get to choose my hours, who I want to work with and am never mandated overtime.

If anyone has been paying attention to the news RN programs have been disrupted. It may not be possible that they are going to be open for enrollment until next year. There are a ton of current students who will have priority in finishing up their program.

I have seen ads asking for LPNs help in Covid response teams. My clients and their families do not care that I'm an LPN. Mostly the only people who care about titles tend to be insecure RNs who weren't taught any better. Places are currently having trouble finding RNs which is why you see them being brought back into emergemcy rooms and even hospitals. An LPN is a good way to make a living with a relatively short school time and you are generally making more than most college grads (this was true in my case). In my field of work I have gotten lots of vent, trach and g tube experience. In this line of work you also have lots of autonomy.

Should you want to go back for RN you'll have a leg up over most of the other students, not to mention you are less likely to need student loans to fund your education. I wish you the best of luck!

9 hours ago, caliotter3 said:

Well, the solution is to become an RN. Do it now while you are young or you can face a career of feeling “lesser than” at a lesser rate of pay. There are so many more ads for RN positions over LPN/LVN positions on the employment websites. That alone should be enough incentive.

This is really not a good response. Feel free to ignore this person.

LPNs are highly valuable. There are a ton of ads for LPN positions. I had no trouble finding work as an LPN. Home care agencies rely heavily on LPNs and could not exist without us. There are also clinics, rural hospitals, emergency rooms in certain states (NC and TX), certain mental hospitals, jails and schools that all need LPNs besides your SNFs. Certain states are letting LPNs do IVs and blood draws as well.

I make really good money for an LPN in home health. I get to choose my hours, who I want to work with and am never mandated overtime.

If anyone has been paying attention to the news RN programs have been disrupted. It may not be possible that they are going to be open for enrollment until next year. There are a ton of current students who will have priority in finishing up their program.

I have seen ads asking for LPNs help in Covid response teams. My clients and their families do not care that I'm an LPN. Mostly the only people who care about titles tend to be insecure RNs who weren't taught any better. Places are currently having trouble finding RNs which is why you see them being brought back into emergemcy rooms and even hospitals. An LPN is a good way to make a living with a relatively short school time and you are generally making more than most college grads (this was true in my case). In my field of work I have gotten lots of vent, trach and g tube experience. In this line of work you also have lots of autonomy.

Should you want to go back for RN you'll have a leg up over most of the other students, not to mention you are less likely to need student loans to fund your education. I wish you the best of luck!

Edit: A lot of hospitals are not really good places to work. I've met a few RNs who were dissatisfied with their orientation and/or workload. A lot of people don't know the reality of working in a hospital. And it isn't always glamourous either. I'm guessing one too many episodes of Grey's anatomy is causing the confusion. In certain cases, RNs (both ADNs and BSNs) and LPNs don't have much of a pay difference if the job is outside of the hospital. It really sucks but the hospital administration doesn't always treat nurses respectfully. There are a good number of Youtube videos of disgruntled RNs (LPNs too) I suggest you check those out.

6 hours ago, Mintezia said:

This is really not a good response. Feel free to ignore this person.

LPNs are highly valuable. There are a ton of ads for LPN positions. I had no trouble finding work as an LPN. Home care agencies rely heavily on LPNs and could not exist without us. There are also clinics, rural hospitals, emergency rooms in certain states (NC and TX), certain mental hospitals, jails and schools that all need LPNs besides your SNFs. Certain states are letting LPNs do IVs and blood draws as well.

I make really good money for an LPN in home health. I get to choose my hours, who I want to work with and am never mandated overtime.

If anyone has been paying attention to the news RN programs have been disrupted. It may not be possible that they are going to be open for enrollment until next year. There are a ton of current students who will have priority in finishing up their program.

I have seen ads asking for LPNs help in Covid response teams. My clients and their families do not care that I'm an LPN. Mostly the only people who care about titles tend to be insecure RNs who weren't taught any better. Places are currently having trouble finding RNs which is why you see them being brought back into emergemcy rooms and even hospitals. An LPN is a good way to make a living with a relatively short school time and you are generally making more than most college grads (this was true in my case). In my field of work I have gotten lots of vent, trach and g tube experience. In this line of work you also have lots of autonomy.

Should you want to go back for RN you'll have a leg up over most of the other students, not to mention you are less likely to need student loans to fund your education. I wish you the best of luck!

Edit: A lot of hospitals are not really good places to work. I've met a few RNs who were dissatisfied with their orientation and/or workload. A lot of people don't know the reality of working in a hospital. And it isn't always glamourous either. I'm guessing one too many episodes of Grey's anatomy is causing the confusion. In certain cases, RNs (both ADNs and BSNs) and LPNs don't have much of a pay difference if the job is outside of the hospital. It really sucks but the hospital administration doesn't always treat nurses respectfully. There are a good number of Youtube videos of disgruntled RNs (LPNs too) I suggest you check those out.

Thank you for your response; It was just what I needed. I do think a lot of the mainstream medical shows shine an artificial light on what it's like working in a hospital. All areas of work should be appreciated equally. Home care and LTC is so undervalued in my opinion! It's refreshing to hear you, as an LPN, point out that LPNs are in fact valuable and all the positives that come with it. Thanks again 😄

No problem. Unsurprisingly this crisis spread mainly through nursing homes, which are digusting and understaffed. I used to live in nyc and worked in 2 seperate homes. The one in Staten Island had 1 star and I worked in a prestigious facility in an affluent neighborhood that was horribly staffed and patients horribly treated.

In my area there is Life Care center where a lot of new cases were cropping up day after day. I never understood quarantining the whole city down while the disease was concentrated in one area. If they would have better staffed nursing homes, have at least 4 nurses on the floor, I don't think the crisis would be where its at.

Making hospitals mandating BSNs and its magnet status probably is what brought on the idea that RN BSNs are the only valuable nurses when it isn't true. A home care nurse is equally responsible for keeping their client alive as well especially where vent and trachs are involved.

On 5/6/2020 at 8:45 PM, Mintezia said:

No problem. Unsurprisingly this crisis spread mainly through nursing homes, which are digusting and understaffed. I used to live in nyc and worked in 2 seperate homes. The one in Staten Island had 1 star and I worked in a prestigious facility in an affluent neighborhood that was horribly staffed and patients horribly treated.

In my area there is Life Care center where a lot of new cases were cropping up day after day. I never understood quarantining the whole city down while the disease was concentrated in one area. If they would have better staffed nursing homes, have at least 4 nurses on the floor, I don't think the crisis would be where its at.

Making hospitals mandating BSNs and its magnet status probably is what brought on the idea that RN BSNs are the only valuable nurses when it isn't true. A home care nurse is equally responsible for keeping their client alive as well especially where vent and trachs are involved.

100% agree with the staffing shortage. Homes were understaffed even before the pandemic and sad to say that it will likely stay the same after it's over too.

Home and LTC nurses do the same assessments and interventions and usually with less hands on deck when a clients status turns south. It doesn't get enough credit.

I guess a lot of it really is a matter of people not knowing what we actually do. 🤷‍♀️

I'm happy with where I am when I look back at where I started from.

On 5/5/2020 at 10:54 PM, SlowlyButSurely said:

Hi All,

I've been an LPN for about 3 years and I work in LTC. Whenever the topic of my job comes up I can't help but notice that people are disappointed in my response. First I'm an LPN and not an RN and then I work in LTC and not a hospital ... Anyone else? How do you deal with it?

Thanks!

Hi,

I know what you mean. I was a LPN for 10 years before I became a RN, and in those years, I have heard so many comments and looks about me being a LPN. Some were well meaning, some were insulting, some were back handed compliments, but all were not nice. I also come from a family of doctors, engineers, pharmacists, etc., so not only being a nurse, but being a LPN was a double slap in the face. The response was, "Oh...why a LPN, and not a RN?" Being a nurse, in general, is not a desired profession in my family.

And I would get comments at work- too many to list, but even from LPNs too. I was explaining the lab results and what it meant and what to tell the doctor to a LPN, and she said she was surprised I was a LPN because she didn't know how I knew all this stuff. I would get comments like that all the time, from RNs and LPNs. Frankly, I got sick of it....

I am proud to have been a LPN. I am also proud to be a RN. In both programs, I worked really hard. Being a LPN helped me in the RN program big time. I value LPNs because I know what they've gone through and I've worked with some that I would trust with my life. However, I am also proud to have gone back to school. When I was in LPN school, it was so much at one time (40 hrs a week for a full year), plus working on the weekends, that a lot of the stuff I learned I forgot.

Going back to school when I already knew a lot allowed me to really get in depth with my learning because I didn't have to start fresh. As a person with no medical background in the RN program, it can be a lot. But because I had a base to work with, it was easier for me to learn, remember and apply the knowledge. I am a better nurse for becoming a RN. I think any additional schooling will make anyone become a better nurse, because it's more knowledge. A RN becoming a NP will become a better nurse. I remember learning the rationales in the RN program on various things that I had come across while working as a LPN, but I never knew the reasoning behind it.

But if you ever decide to go back, do it for yourself, do it for more knowledge, better pay, more opportunities...don't do it because people are putting you down as a LPN:)

SineQuaNon, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in ED, Family Practice, Home Health. Has 14 years experience.

I think you should try to do an LPN to RN bridge. Not because I don't think LPNs are awesome, you are! My aunt was an LPN her entire career and I've had many LPNs guide and mentor me over the years. But I think you deserve the pay and recognition of your skills that is just harder to come by as an LPN. You were smart to get your LPN first. If you play your cards right you can get your employers to pay for you to get your RN and you won't incur nearly the debt I did.

There is more education that comes with the RN that I believe may become helpful, particularly if you want to move out of LTC.

And, at least where I live, RNs make about $15 more per hour than LPNs. That works out to $30,000 more per year. Over a lifetime that really adds up.

Elektra6, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Home Health, LTC, subacute. Has 16 years experience.

If it makes you feel any better, I became an RN and stayed in homecare. I still get the “what hospital do you work at” and “oh” response to home health. I think it’s everyone that doesn’t work in a hospital. Maybe there’s a hierarchy to working in certain depts too like ICU? I do not let this bother me anymore. Most people who ask have are not in healthcare and haven’t a clue that 40% of nurses work outside of acute care. We are all valuable.

cyc0sys

Specializes in EMS, LTC, Sub-acute Rehab. Has 6 years experience.

I often encounter the same type of responses from patients, other nurses and doctors. I wouldn't let it discourage you. It's all a matter of perception.

After 5 years as an LPN in sub-acute rehab, I feel confident in my assessment and hands on skills. I've ran plenty of codes and saved more people than I can count.

Do we have a loaded crash cart and a code team like the ED? No. But if I stabilize until a medic arrives. I've done my job.

With a 1:25 ratio of postop Pts and varying degrees sub-acuity, you have to be quick on draw in prioritizing and assessing patients.

Patient care techs in the hospital are often the ones to do caths, IVs, and lots of hands on. My state allows LPN to do IVs with the exception of blood products. As a former medic, I don't have any problems getting a line in a Pt.

I also rounded with the wound care doctor bi-weekly. Most hospitals have a wound care RN. You can learn a great deal one on one with a wound care doc. She was actually an OB/GYN prior to moving into wound care.

Personally, I have a problem with the pay disparity in nursing. You're rarely paid by what you do. But instead by what you 'know'. I have an associates in Allied Health Sciences with a focus on emergency management. But without an ADN or BSN, it is pretty worthless. That's why I'm in an LPN to RN BSN program.

Perception is key. If you're happy with your job. Then you're already winning the battle. I know RNs who've quit nursing because of hospital politics, regulatory policies, and unsafe working conditions.

These responses were great!

I became an LPN because I was fortunate enough to get into the Job Corps program. I got in very easily. A lot of people spent months to a year waiting to get in whereas there was maybe 2 weeks between the end of my CNA program and start of LPN.

I never had to work as an LPN because I lived on campus. Everything was provided for free--books, clothing, ATI, a Sanders test prep, transportation to and from clinicals, food and shelter. It was an extremely miserable experience. I got crap from CNA students and other trades for pursing LPN. Maybe they were jealous because it was hard to get in and even harder to stay in. I was on the verge of failing out the entire year I was in. But the first one with an active license.

I dropped out of college years earlier so an RN program would not have been better for me in the beginning. I didn't occur any additional debt either.

I do hesitate to get a BSN because home care works out a lot and I'm not sure I'm cut out for a facility. I'm pretty introverted but I don't regret getting my LPN because it is a good living for me. The last LTC I've been to was a nightmare and had a ratio of 1:40.

If I were to go back for my RN I am certain everything would be an expanded review for me. I graduated in 2018 but I still remember virtually everything I was taught. I am also really comfortable with vents and g tube so I'm sure I could handle those patients at least.

cree0165, LPN, LVN

Specializes in LTC. Has 11 years experience.

Hi there. I'm a 10 year LPN in the state of MS. From my experience, a nurse is a nurse around here. If people know you're a nurse, they'll tell you their entire health history (it gets annoying sometimes), followed by the questions "So, what do you think is wrong with me??? and should I see a doc?" :-)

I feel you and your situation though. I can relate. Just knowing that RN's are favored more in certain facilities can be challenging to overcome. Especially when you know you'd be an excellent RN yourself! While I have zero desire to work at a hospital, there are some other areas and specialties I'd like to try and guess what? They want an RN. Sigh. What makes the difference for me though is going to work (I work in LTC too) and feeling like my knowledge and skills are valuable to my employer. That could make a world of difference sometimes!

We are LPN's. We are valuable already. But the sky is the limit! And as RN's we could go above and beyond. Ask yourself what you really want out of your career and if an RN license is in there, go for it! And this would probably be a very good time for us to do so. I've been looking into some online programs myself lately. Good luck and best wishes in your career!

Runsoncoffee99

Specializes in Peds. Has 17 years experience.

On 5/6/2020 at 2:01 PM, Mintezia said:

This is really not a good response. Feel free to ignore this person.

LPNs are highly valuable. There are a ton of ads for LPN positions. I had no trouble finding work as an LPN. Home care agencies rely heavily on LPNs and could not exist without us. There are also clinics, rural hospitals, emergency rooms in certain states (NC and TX), certain mental hospitals, jails and schools that all need LPNs besides your SNFs. Certain states are letting LPNs do IVs and blood draws as well.

I make really good money for an LPN in home health. I get to choose my hours, who I want to work with and am never mandated overtime.

If anyone has been paying attention to the news RN programs have been disrupted. It may not be possible that they are going to be open for enrollment until next year. There are a ton of current students who will have priority in finishing up their program.

I have seen ads asking for LPNs help in Covid response teams. My clients and their families do not care that I'm an LPN. Mostly the only people who care about titles tend to be insecure RNs who weren't taught any better. Places are currently having trouble finding RNs which is why you see them being brought back into emergemcy rooms and even hospitals. An LPN is a good way to make a living with a relatively short school time and you are generally making more than most college grads (this was true in my case). In my field of work I have gotten lots of vent, trach and g tube experience. In this line of work you also have lots of autonomy.

Should you want to go back for RN you'll have a leg up over most of the other students, not to mention you are less likely to need student loans to fund your education. I wish you the best of luck!

That poster was not being snarky. She was honest.

What is happening in my area is that BSN nurses are in the hospitals. LTC facilities only ant Rns in my area now.

BTW,just because someone can start IV's does not mean anything.

A Cna can start an IV too. Hospitals do not even require nurses know how to start them. They have IV teams for that.

819Nurse, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Nursing. Has 16 years experience.

On 5/6/2020 at 4:32 AM, caliotter3 said:

Well, the solution is to become an RN. Do it now while you are young or you can face a career of feeling “lesser than” at a lesser rate of pay. There are so many more ads for RN positions over LPN/LVN positions on the employment websites. That alone should be enough incentive.

^^THIS! Best response here!

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

The real issue is the ability to respond (or not) to those individuals with preconceived notions about your chosen profession. Here are a few possible comebacks:

1. Q: Hey, why don’t you get your RN? A: Why don’t you?

2. Q: Do you know RNs get paid more? A: Do you know that it’s not what you make, but what you ‘do’ with what you make?

3. Q: Why don’t you go work in a hospital? A: Who’s going to take care of your grandma?

4. Q: (from the doctors in the family) Why aren’t you what we want you to be? A: Why aren’t you President?

Right or wrong, there’s an answer to every question. But your main one should be that it’s your life, your career, and your choice. In other words, it’s not their concern.

For the record, I was an LPN for 24 years. The economic crash of 2008 is was forced me to go back. I can relate to portions of your and everyone else’s opinion on this thread. There will always be something less appealing to a layperson and even amongst nurses themselves. There’s the med/surg vs ICU vs ER vs whatever-area nurses against each other even within the confines of the hospitals. And let’s not forget the staff nurse vs the agency or float nurse.

Bottom line: It doesn’t matter. Be who or what you want to be. Carry on and leave them scratching their heads.👋

Edited by BSNbeDONE
Add-on

phil4_13, LPN

Specializes in Orthopedics. Has 9 years experience.

Don't you ever let anyone make you think that being an LPN somehow makes you a lesser nurse - because that simply isn't true. A nurse is a nurse is a nurse. We may have different scopes of practice between the license levels, but that does not negate the fact that the "N" in LPN and the "N" in RN both stand for "NURSE." And don't let yourself feel inferior to hospital nurses - there are more fields than just SNF and hospital for nurses. The general public, and many hospital nurses, simply have blinders on when it comes to all we can do. Their loss.

I am a proud LPN, and have been for 8 years. In a week, I will be a graduate RN, and plan to pass NCLEX-RN by end of Summer (would be sooner, but there are so many restrictions on testing sites right now). We are all nurses. We just have different types of strengths - the main one being that we have the power and ability to help people heal. You do you, hon, and help the ppl in your SNF to heal, day by day. It takes a special type of person to be able to stay in that field, and I commend you.

no one can make you feel inferior.jpg