What is the main difference between LPN and RN

  1. I need to write a paper on a popular debate for a class I'm taking. In the rural hospital I work in there is often the phrase "LPN"s can do almost everything an RN can do, yet they get paid the big bucks" floating around. I am not agreeing with this statement or disagreeing with it...I just hear it a lot and would like some thoughts from other nurses....both LPNs and RNs for my paper. Thanks in advance for your time and assistance. Please let's not get nasty with each other....just straight forward comments would be appreciated.
  2. Visit dayzee1975 profile page

    About dayzee1975

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 6; Likes: 1
    currently an LPN at a rural acute care hospital
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Bein ru


  3. by   nursesaideBen
    There are tons and tons of other threads out there that wound up as nasty (most of them) try searching for them.
  4. by   jjjoy
    The scope of practice of RNs and LPNs is regulated by each state so you'll need to check what your state's regulations are. Also, different facilities can have different job descriptions and roles, so in one facility the job difference might be more pronounced than in another. You can probably get what your hospital policies are on that. Do you think you could ask any of the nurses where you work what they understand the differences to be? Then, report back to us what you've found!
  5. by   dayzee1975
    thanks...I did try, but I'll dig deeper
  6. by   TheCommuter
    LPNs are considered, by most state boards of nursing, to be basic nurses. RNs are considered, by most state boards of nursing, to be professional nurses. The LPN is legally supposed to provide care for patients who are in stable condition with predictable outcomes, whereas the RN can legally provide care for patients of all acuity ranges.

    However, there are some LPNs who work with high-acuity, unstable patients. There are some RNs who work with low-acuity, very stable patients. Therefore, it all depends.

    I am an LPN who will readily admit that I am not the same as an RN. My education was more skills-based, but the RN curriculum is more theoretical in nature.
  7. by   MedSurgeNewbie
    Your states nurse practice act might be online, that should delineate between the two – I work with some really awesome LPN’s who I admire very much! They have great skills, even the new grads I was really really impressed with these women!
  8. by   mim-o
    look on the board of nursing web-site for the differences-it is also in your nurse practice act, which you should have a copy of from your school. with that said, let me say this. I am a fairly new rn that works in a rural hospital in ccu/icu. We have one lpn on staff. she has 20+ years experience. There are some meds she is not allowed to push. However, as far as knowledge and expertise-she is a walking rescource book. She does the same job as me, but gets less pay and no weekend shift difference-CRAP I SAY. She is a terrific nurse! Be sure and remember when you get thru school that the letters behind someones badge are just that-letters. Some of the most compassionate and knowledgeable people you will learn from are lpns,esp old school nurses-they are unbelievable. also in an unrelated topic, your cna workers are wonderful, underpaid,overworked people! Value them and help them to help you. Nursing is truly teamwork. Best of luck in your future career-it is hard work, but a wonderful life.
  9. by   jjjoy
    You can see that there's no really short answer to what's the difference between RNs and LPNs though there is a difference in the licensing exams and schooling and there are usually differences in the job descriptions. That's why I'd like to hear what you find out for your hospital and your state. : )
  10. by   Kashia
    I am LVN acute care med-surg floor 5+ yrs, work within full scope of lic.

    Theory and concept. Pay.
  11. by   TrudyRN
    RN's go to school longer and do everything a licensed nurse is legally allowed to do. We are taught more about the "why" of what we do.

    LPN's may never push IV Rx (so watch - someone will say they do in their state), may not do admission assessments. Do they have the ability? Yes. But not legal permission to do so.

    Check the history of how LPN's came about and you'll get a better idea of the intended scope of the role.

    Good luck on your paper. Try actually going to a library and looking up some books. The internet is great but a librarian can help with more than online sources.
  12. by   dolphn545
    dayzee - you're in Canada, which may have some different regulations than in the states. You should be able to find the Regulations online.

    Anyways, for me, I am a current LPN student, will graduate on June 7.

    One of the differences here (besides pay) is that LPN's can NOT push IV meds (except Heparin), and cannot hang blood or blood products.
  13. by   dayzee1975
    Thanks everyone for all your help. I was looking more for personal opinion on the differnces between the two types of nurses, not what the legal boards say. I have actually been working as an LPN for five years now I'm working on my BSCN. Before that I worked as an aid in Long term care....I know this field is where I belong and I also know to respect each member of the team for what they bring to it. I thank you all for your comments.
  14. by   jjjoy
    Are you in a RN program now? Since you've already worked as an LPN, I'd imagine you might have an opinion on this. Would you mind sharing?