Can I ask a stupid Question?

Nurses General Nursing


This is my first time on this board, so be gentle with me! I'm a nurse from across the pond in England and I'm not familiar with the initials, presumably for different levels of nurse, used. Eg. LPN, VN, LVNS, CNA. If anyone has a spare moment would they be able to explain them please?

This is a wonderful board, I'll be recommending it to my work colleagues.

|Thanks, Ann

Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.


That is not a stupid question :) It has been discussed before, I just did a quick search using the search feature for the word "initals" without quotes and came up with several discussion threads, here is one that has several explanations. Hope this helps, by the way, I'm glad you like the board, welcome to !

Here is the link!

Hi!! Some info for you. LPN= licensed practicle nurse. These nurses have one year of nursing education, and no degree. There are restrictions as to how they practice which varied according to state. VN= vocational nurse. LVN= licensed vocational nurse. LPN, VN and LVN are all the same. Basically it depends on how old the nurse is, but they have the same amt of formal education. To be an RN, one must complete 2, 3 or 4 yrs of school. 2 yrs yields an associates degree. 3 years is a diploma, there are not many of these programs left in the U.S. They were hospital based, not college based. 4 years yields a bachelors degree. For the most part, when working as in a hospital as a nurse, pay and job description are based on RN verses LPN, and is not further differentiated by degrees/years of education for RN's. Oh- a CNA is a certified nurses assistant. They have to take a class that is about 3 months, I think, and then they can take vital signs and help with bathing and such. I hope that this cleared up your questions.


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