ADVICE for Students in Ontario RPN vs RN

  1. I have seen many threads, students asking advice/opinion on weather they should take the RPN or RN program.

    I just wanted to share my experience and opinion on this subject as a RPN. I completed the 2 year full-time Diploma in Southwest Ontario, but if I could go back I would have definitely opted for the BScN program instead. I would like to share why.

    When I decided on this route I never expected that my nursing ambitions and skills would supersede the opportunities that are available for RPN's in this part of Ontario. They are AGES behind when it comes to utilization of the RPN to their full scope of practice.

    At the time I couldn't attend a 4-year full-time program because of the demands of my home life. Plus I thought, especially as I went through the program, that I would have a variety of choices as to what areas of nursing I would work in once I gained more experience. I have since learned that this is not the case, at least not in my area.

    There are still many RN's (and general public) who do not understand the skills and education that RPN have received in nursing school and many facilities who are still not allowing RPNs to work to their full scope. RPN's are an autonomous profession who work under the EXACT same standards of nursing as RN's. There is no hierarchal system; it is simply based on experience and skill set. Which, most NEW GRAD RN's, can never have the skills set, experience and knowledge I do after this many years of actually working on busy acute floors as a nurse. And of course management opportunities are usually only available to RN's.

    Because of this I have since decided to enroll in a part-time bridging program through Ryerson University to obtain my RN. I have also found that the pay difference is very unfair, and should also be based on experience and skill set. For example why should I get paid $25/hr verses $35/hr to start the exact same IV and push the exact same meds! I also have the same patient load as the RN for less money, I find this very unfair.

    So if I had to advice anyone who is debating what route to take, I would say if you plan to work in this area (Ontario), just go for your BScN. Had I done this out of the gate, I would have been done by now and would not have to suffer through so much frustration and dissatisfaction with nursing.

    I do not want to take any credit away from the RN (especially since I'm going to become one ) I give credit where credit is due, and if I received the respect I deserve as an RPN than I would have been happy keeping my designation.

    So if you can and have the opportunity to do a full-time 4 year program, than MY ADVICE ... DO IT!! And what ever you choose remember we are ALL still NURSES!!!

    Btw, RPN is the same as LPN in the rest of Canada ... And the RPN/LPN scope of practice in the USA, is not anything like the training in Canada.
  2. Visit nursebetty1975 profile page

    About nursebetty1975, ADN, RN

    Joined: Jul '09; Posts: 50; Likes: 69


  3. by   tnbutterfly
    Moved to Canadian Nursing Programs.

    Thanks for your informative post.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 26, '17
  4. by   vintage_RN
    What a great post! Thank you! I am beginning the RPN program at Mohawk College in September. I completely agree with all of your points. However, I have been trying to get into nursing since highschool and been rejected because of my marks. I took Pre-Health and was rejected because I was 1 mark under the cut off. I have applied to nursing 4 years in a row to no avail. I am now married and have a home life and expenses to look after. I applied to the RPN program again just as a last try to see if I would get in...they changed the admission requirements so you have to do a test and I did very well on the test so I was accepted. I applied to the RN program as well, but because I didnt have the marks in Pre-Health I was not accepted. I feel I have wasted so much time already trying to get in that at least if I can get my shoe into nursing and begin learning what nursing involves and practicing, that is good enough for me for now. I would absolutely rather do the RN program right now...but I would have to upgrade my marks and wait another year. My goal is to do what you are doing, the bridge program. I think I'm happy with beginning to learn nursing and at least practice nursing until I can go back for the bridge and also I will be able to work as a nurse...even if it isnt to my full scope. Thanks for the insight! I also agree if people are wondering which one...DO THE BSCN!! But if home-life/family/finances prevent you from doing so...the RPN program is a good start.
  5. by   joanna73
    I agree. Even though I'm an RN, an experienced RPN/LPN knows more and they would have better skills. I debated the 2 year program myself, but as you mentioned, why should I make 10-12 less an hour for virtually the same practice? Not fair for RPN's. I also want to travel internationally at some point, for which the RN is required. Good luck with your program I graduated from the RN program at Ryerson. It's a great school.
  6. by   loriangel14
    You keep stating that Ontario doesn't allow RPNs to practice to their full scope.What skills have you not been allowed to use.

    To each his own. I went the RPN route and I am quite happy.
  7. by   nursebetty1975
    I am not referring to all of Ontario, I’m referring to Southwest Ontario. This is where I work and live, but I do know that places like the GTA are utilizing their RPN’s to their full scope. I am just not willing to wait for this area to catch up with the rest of Canada, so now that life has allowed me, I’ve opted for the bridging program.

    If more opportunities were available, I would not be going back to school … We all know nursing school is not easy, and especially when your trying to juggle being a mother, wife, job and being a student at the same time. I didn’t want to sign up for that stress, but now I have and I’m going to give it 100% … I’m happy to hear your satisfied with your RPN designation, as you should be ..and like you said “to each their own” Its just my opinion and advice.
  8. by   nursebetty1975
    Vintagenurseandrea, Best of luck with the RPN program, it is allot of work but worth it at the end .. and to me, nursing in general is a very rewarding career.

    Look into the bridging program after your RPN if you are interested, it's allot easier to get in once you have completed an RPN, at least that was my experience. But I do have to say the bridging program is no walk in the park ... Its intense but very interesting!
  9. by   learningmom
    THANK YOU! I was waiting for some clarity from somewhere about this RPN vs RN. This really helped.

    Currently I am a stay at home mom hoping to go to full time studies when my kids are all in full time school. We don't feel comfortable with daycares or even home cares. I am currently just taking an online course 'medical terminology'. By the way I was a nursing student before but never finished after I moved to Ontario. I am literally itching to get back in the loop.

    Other than that I have been trying to keep my passion alive by logging onto this website and also following some nursing journeys on youtube! You guys keep me going.

    Totally derailed offf topic, again THANK YOU FOR THE CLARITY!
  10. by   nrsern
    Your stance on pay differential and similarity between practices in acute care settings is indisputable. However, RNs do have a wider scope of practice regarding delegating, accountability and responsibility. Further, RNs have a wider option of practice settings, for example in community health nursing. Nursing standards have scope of practice guidelines, but they may differ according to practice settings. Some geographical areas simply do not have the capacity to allow all designations to practice to their full scope. Good luck on your BScN, the workforce needs more experienced nurses.
  11. by   etobicoke973
    I am in need of some 2nd books for CRNE. Pls advice, where I should go to post the thread to buy the books.

  12. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    The Terms of Service of prohibits the posting of requests for purchasing any item or service, as well as posts offering the sale of any item or service. The books you're looking for are available at any university bookstore, as well as the online ones such as and chapters-indigo. You should be able to find second-hand ones at any of those places.
  13. by   Silverdragon102
    Quote from etobicoke973
    I am in need of some 2nd books for CRNE. Pls advice, where I should go to post the thread to buy the books.

    Go to the local library or look in a good book shop. They should have the books you need to study for the CRNE. Also check Amazon out
  14. by   Fiona59
    Best place to purchase the CPNRE guide is at the school that does the programme. I remember that the college bookstore ordered in only enough for the graduating class. It's not something they keep lying around.

    Every college and school has boards full of used books for sale.