Is a LPN an aide or a nurse?

Nurses Career Support


Just asking. I am a LPN x 2 years and feel unsupported from a variety of fields as to what "I thought" my professional capacity was to be. I find that LPN's are OVERLOOKED and BELITTLED from several angles, from pts, RN's, DR's, housekeeping, etc. If I went through a measly 1 year worth of intense nursing training, am I not just as valued to the medical profession?

Mind you, there are those that are very supportive and inspiring. But I just get this overall vibe that LPN's don't count. I am proud of where I am today and what I have learned and gained. I know I have so much more to learn and relish that opportunity. Why do I see some LPN's ashamed of their role and title? Is a PA or NP ashamed they are not a Doctor? Is not each role/title valued within that roles'/titles' capacity?


33 Posts

I'm an LPN also and find that many ignorant pts and stupid nurses have made remarks of what they beleive an LPN is. It infuriates me.

This program has been around for some time now, as I see it. And it's obvious there is a need for LPN's. I haven't met one LPN that couldn't find work. As far as I see, we play an important role in the health field as any other health care worker.

Yor are right when you say there are some that support and encourage us. I have a tremendous respect for them. I find the ones that have problems with the LPN's are the one who are insecure and feel threatened in there role as a nurse. That's just to bad. Get over it. We are here..... and here to stay.

Like many other professions, there are many different ranks and varing salaries. And each company will utilize them to their specific needs and cost.

I'm proud to be an LPN, and always will be. I don't beleive I would have received the same training in an RN program.

I am now enrolled in a community college for RN degree. Not by choice, if left up to me I would have no pboblem continuing on as an LPN. I find it just as rewarding. In order for me to remain happy in "my position" and to receive the salary I so well deserve, I must return to school.

I work along side of 3 sympathetic RN's who are the greatest and have alot of respect for me.

In this particular dept., I work just as hard if not harder and for half of what they make. I find myself very frustrated when I have to orient a new RN to the floor and answer everyones questions. Don't ask why I'm orienting the RN's. That's the assignment given. No one questions it. And I don't want to seem like I'm not a team player. So I don't complain. I'm the only LPN in this dept. I'm in no way trying to make what the RN's are making. I respect that. I've asked for and increase and was denied. And was told if I went back to school they would give me a dollar. That was a laugh, but I'm doing it because I know if I don't I will be frustrated. And I love where I work.


405 Posts

First of the system sets it up. Depending on where you work there is a wide difference in what you may or may not be able to do. It varies from state to state as well as setting to setting. Next traditionally the nursing associations have for years made it very well known that only a BSN can be truly a professional. I see some changes happening there in only the last year, actually less than a year. If we could all think that we are all nurses. Even the aide is truly a nurse. That may not be the title, but the aide is much closer to what Florence Nightengale did then the rest of us do. Each of us plays a part, that part should be based on education and skills. The inability of some to see that each of us are needed in a particular way is nothing more than the typical way groups of people who have very little power behave. The RN who insists that means real nurse, the BSN who insists they are better capable than the ADN. The LPN who treats the aide as little more than somebody to boss around, then the aide that fights back by refusing to accept supervision or by degrading the role that a nurse plays by stating anyone can pass meds. Each of these people react out of the need to have some sort of power. I hate it when I hear an LPN say I'm just an LPN or an aide say I'm just an aide. What a crock! Without LPNs we would be sunk in many area of healthcare. Without aides not one nursing home in this country would function. If a person is happy in the role they play they should be able to enjoy that and never have to feel degraded. If they wish to increase their practice abilities than by all means get the education needed. So Jo I'm so sorry that you have been belittled and overlooked. I always remember the LPN I worked with in my first LTC job. She had been an LPN for years and years. I had came out of a Neuro ICU to LTC and if it had not been for her kindness and mentering I would never had been able to make it in a LTC enviroment. Here I was a skilled RN with the ability to make snap judgements and decisions, I mixed drugs, worked with all sorts of technical things, all the things associated with an ICU. But I had no clue how to function in LTC. If Miss Betty had not taken me under her wing I am quite sure I would have been tossed out on my ear. She taught me a different set of skills. How to juggle 33 patients and all the goes with it. She taught me state guidelines that I didn't even know existed. In the process I was able to teach her a few things too, but trust me I got alot more from her than she did from me. So much of her knowledge was from experience, and no amount of college education can substitute for that.


4,491 Posts

Here in California many of us lobbied very hard for Nurse Title Protection. Now ONLY an RN or LVN may use the term "NURSE". We are the only people with a nurses license.

The term "Nursing Assistant may be used. I was a CNA many, many years ago. The lack of respect was a reason to go back to school.

My personal opinion is that the minimum education to perform nursing tasks is a CNA or student with instructor or preceptor. One unlicensed person actually told me the BP was "60 over 110"! He did not know what "I&O"meant or"NPO".

BUT an LVN is a nurse, no question. Many are more intelligent than me, I don't know why they don't go to an ADN program and be an RN, but since they don't they are treeific nurses who save the hospitals money.



64 Posts

Thank you for your replies! They were all very well said and heartfelt. Your offerings of insight gives me security in knowing the reason I love this field!

Amen rncountry...I was a NA for years and prided myself on the cares I gave and skills I learned in that capacity. I was encouraged to go on to become a nurse. I am thankful for the nurses training I recieved and proud of it. I plan to attain my ADN at some point, however I really do feel that what I am doing now is valuable for where I hope to be in the future. The pressure and expectance that a LPN is supposed to go on to get their RN bothers me. As I have said in previous posts...'It should not be a condition of workplace acceptance to "have" to attain a RN degree.' Those that choose to stay in a LPN postition should be valued. Just because some are highly skilled and knowledgable does not automatically mean they have 'outgrown' the scope of their title or role. They should be utilized and applauded. If they so choose to go on for a degree, more power to them! To each his own.

Again, I thank you for your honest and thoughtful responses. I enjoyed reading them. Take care.

Health and Blessings~ Jodie biggrin.gif


33 Posts

To RN Country,

I find you to be in all your comments a woman with great compassion and respect for mankind. Someone with alot of common sense which I find to be very valuable. Not to many people possess this quality. You've never had a mean word to say regardless what someone else might had said.

You have given encouragement where encouragement was needed. You have lifted the heads of many who were walking with their heads down. (I am one of them)

I have nothing but great respect for you.

You must be one hell of a terrific "NURSE."

If I've worked along side of you, I would most definitely submit your name for employee of the month. You are a great role-model if I may say so myself. I don't know you, but I feel I'm a pretty good judge of character. Continue the great words of wisdom you have given to this forum.

Sincerely LPN biggrin.gif


2 Posts

I agree with RNCountry 100% there. I have been a nurse for over 7 years (an LPN) and nothing upsets mer more than an RN who feels their title expresses their compoetance. They feel they have a higher degree than me becaus ethey are an RN. Nothing upsets them more than to find out that I'm an LPN whos original intentiion was to go to med school. My associates degree in Science (Bio and CHem) along with my Cert in Nursing for my LPN equates to 3 years of school, not the palsy 2 that most ADN's have. I found nursing enjoyable and decided NOT to continue on. I served as a medic in the Army for 6 years also, all this experiance does not go by without learning a thing or two. I have seen several instances where RN's have overlooked simple problems in hospitals where it has costs the patient their lives, even when this was pointed ou by LPN's RNs have ignored it (stupid RNs) costing the PT dearly. Much of this hype is presented in RN school and also my some of the Associations out there such as AJN. I saw an article in AJN once that stated " Is a NURSE taking care of your loved one" then it went on to state that many facilities higher Nurse aides and LPNs to carry aut responsibilities once only given to RNs to cut costs. Soon after this is when I started getting the "are you an RN" my simple reply is "yes, I'm a nurse". and I leve it at that. If they demand that an RN take care of their loved one, fine, let the RN take care of them, I don't want the headache from this persons scrutiny.


244 Posts

An LPN is a nurse. I work beside four very intellegent, knowledgable LPN's. I find it sad that anyone would be treated with disrespect because of the letters behind their names.

It is the same old arguement. LPN vs RN vs BSN and what degree is better. I say none make better nurses than the others. Each nurses is as good as they expect themselves to be, and as good as they want to be. I am not a better nurse than the LPN I work along side of just because I have RN behind my name. The BSN is not a better nurse than I am because of the BSN. It makes no difference to me as a patient, what I care about as a patient is that the nurse that takes care of me is willing to listen to me, and work with me to find a solution to my particular problem at the moment.

If any of you LPN's are being treated like second class nurses where you work, well come to my facility as we currently have LPN positions open in our small rural hospital.

Please do not allow yourselves to be treated disrespectfully.



23 Posts

OK, here's the sad truth. RN's will always devalue you, you will be passed up for positions you rightfully deserve, the public will always have no idea what your job decription truly is, and you will be seriously underpaid for your efforts. Now here's the good news: LPN's have better people skills, and are better with time management. LPN's aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and are given the "work" to do while RN's push the pencil with their noses in the air, so guess who gets the experience? Not ALL RN's are this way but most that I've encountered sadly are. My view on the the whole LPN/RN thing goes something like this, I think you should have to be an LPN first it's a learning experience, gets your feet wet. I consider myself to be an excellent nurse. I was a CNA for 8 years, a LPN for 5 years, and now it's time for me to move on, maybe a bachelors? I'm not sure. But it's for my own growth and desire to be recognized as the professional I am. My patients prefer me and my supervisors respect me, My CNA's respect me and I them, I'm not just seeking a title, but personal growth. That will make me a better, happier person, not necessarily a better nurse. BEDSIDE MANNER, EMPATHY AND COMMON SENSE CAN'T BE TAUGHT AT ANY NURSING SCHOOL EITHER YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES OR YOU DON'T. Let your patients be the judge!



244 Posts


I have been a LPN for 11 years! I am proud to be an LPN and at the same time would not recommend this ladder program for a CNA or anyone else who wants to be a nurse. The ANA who says they represent Nurses refuses to accept LPN's as full members. I have a desire to practice in womens health and as a LPN I am limited from doing that, as a male LPN I am not even considered! I have thought about going on for my RN or PA to overcome the gender thing! When I started looking into nursing schools I did not know the difference between the two types of Nurses. I do now! I would not recommend this route to anyone we LPN's work long and hard for our licensure, to then be told by other "Real Nurses" that when they went to school or graduated a LPN could do little more than a Nurses Aid. I have even been told by Hospital Human Resource personnel "We do not hire LPN's for the Hospital, would you work at our LTC or Homehealth care Agency".NO If I wanted to work in that area I would have applied there.

On the flip side once when I was working at a teaching hospital (OSU) a attending physician was making grand rounds and actually asked my thoughts, later when in the Nursing station he was writing orders, he told me what he was going to do for so and so, My charge nurse heard this conversation, she proptly told him I was an LPN and could not take a verbal order! He told her he was didcussing this case with me and not her and that she should stay out of the conversation. At that moment I felt quite proud to be a Licensed to Play Nurse (LPN). He also told her that he would write the order to which she could take it off then!

So there are some ups and downs to being an LPN. One of the ups is you will in all probability be a bedside nurse regardless of your experience or training level. The bad news is not everyone will note or respect that knowledge!


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Have a Blessed and Peaceful Day,



94 Posts

Not to contradict country but in california the LVN status is currently being questioned thanks to a report written by Nancy Stroller from Santa Cruz California University. Who very interesting is not even a nurse. She places LVNS as doing clerical work and doing vital signs. This bill is currently going to the Senate behind this report that was written, and the ANA is supporting this bill, which I find insulting. It is bad enough you have to hear all the B--- from the RNs about us not being nurses ( boy they sure call me real quick when they want me to do something they don't want to do)but now we are fighting the politicians on this issue also. I am IV certified and have worked ER and ICU before. And can not count how many codes I have assisited on.I have many times have had to play patient advocate because the RN or Doctor did not want to see a patient and I knew they needed to be seen or followed up with. But that degree seems to make someone a better person for some reason. No thank you I'll stay a puney LVN and be proud of what I am and do.


5 Posts

I have been a LPN for 4 years and have gained a host of experience. However; I sometimes do feel ashamed of being just a LPN

I confess to it sometimes being a pts attitude, the RNs that I work with or even myself.

Granted I did work very hard for my licese and all that has come with being a nurse. It is the fact that I am treated differently. I recently moved from TX and the difference was not as notable. I now live in GA and you would not believe how seperate the LPN and RN description is. I will graduate in a year with my ADN. I am not sure it will make a difference. I feel I again will be under scrunity for not being a BSN.

Is there ever an end? How do you come to terms with just being able to be an outstanding nurse( compassionate and loving), hardworking and knowledgable, without having to defend a TITLE(LPN, RN, BSN)?

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