Licensed practical..what?

  1. Just wondering, in general, does anyone else here have any issues at their work or in their community as not being recognized as a "real nurse". It is starting to bother me to no end. "Are you a nurse or an LPN?" they said. When are you going back to school? Oh you wouldn't know, you're "just" an LPN. I've even heard stories of housekeeping staff saying that LPNs are not real nurses and that anyone she hears saying so she corrects them! A doctor couldn't even address me as a nurse, they referred to me as "that person looking after (enter patient name)" UGH! I feel like this whole thing has taken a shot at me. I worked extremely hard for 2 years in school, wrote the national exam and was very proud of myself the day I became a nurse. Fast forward a few years later and now a days, I feel guilty saying I'm a nurse cause I feel like I'm lying and that somehow that title is only reserved for someone with a degree.

    Anyone else experiencing this? How do you deal with it? I find it hard to ignore.
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    About nursienurse18

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 3; Likes: 8
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    12 Comments

  3. by   Davey Do
    This sort of thing has been going on since I got into nursing 35 years ago, nursienurse, and I'm sure it went on a long time before that.

    I liked being an LPN- more patient contact, less responsibility, less charting. I had to put up with comments like "RN stands for real nurse. LPN stands for let's play nurse". I was younger then and much more easily offended.

    Even now, my RN peers often refer to RNs as nurses and leave out LPNs. I try to always include LPNs because, let's face it, a lot of LPNs are more "practical" than RNs. Some of the LPNs I work with can run circles around me or the other RNs in a lot of good ol' basic nursing duties.

    The pecking party goes up the hierarchy list: BSNs are better than ADNs or ASNs. MSNs are better than BSNs. NPs are ubiqutious and held in high esteem. Blah, blah blah.

    I have no magic pill for your ills, nursienurse. We just have to accept that people are going to believe what they want and we need to provide quality care for all those for which we feel empathy, apathy, or just downright resentment.

    The best to you!
  4. by   AngelNurse09
    I have seen it also but I always remember what my nursing instructors instilled in me. "A nurse is a nurse no matter what your title is". I have had people ask people start treating me the same way. I simply ask them if in an emergency who are you going to ask for ? Are you going to say wait stop are you an LPN or an RN? No, they are going to say are you the nurse I need your help! That question gets them every time. So just keep your head up and remember it does not matter the title.
  5. by   NurseSpeedy
    Well, as far as the Board of Nursing is concerned, you are a nurse.

    I never really got a lot of crap when I was working as an LPN. I do work in a state where the LPN can do a lot more than a lot of other states though.

    Actually, the only time I had any issues at work were during two occasions. First, I had to orient a new RN. She got hissy when she heard I was an LPN. Okay sweetheart, if you know so much straight out of school, then keep up the attitude. Otherwise, shut up and listen because you may learn something.

    The other times were actually from nursing (RN program) students. I couldn't fault them 100% because I had a feeling some of this was because of what their instructors were saying about LPNs during their lecture. But I had no problem pointing out that until they passed the NCLEX, the only one of us that had the title nurse was me.
  6. by   Sour Lemon
    If it bothers you, advance your education ...but there will always be someone "above" you and there will always be someone "below" you. I had one patient ask me if I was "an LVN or just an RN". I told him I was "just an RN" and got on with my day.
  7. by   fibroblast
    If it is a casual conversation I say I am a nurse. I did take the abuse of nursing school and passed the boards. But if in the presence of healthcare staff such as DON, BSN or RN, I identify as LVN and don't say nurse. I advocate for my patients regardless of what physician says, if I need an order or there is something amiss, then I'm reporting. Yell at me, I don't care.
  8. by   nursej22
    As Davey said, this has been going on forever. And I really enjoyed being an LPN. At my first job in extended care, several RNs referred to the LPNs as "practicals" and the RNs were nurses. But boy oh boy, who did they turn to for phlebotomy or trach care?

    I had an episode with a minimally responsive patient with a glucose reading of 20 ( this was using the old strips that you held to the container and matched the colors). I told the RN, and she dutifully pulled the chart to document it. I suggested she should call the MD, and she asked why? We had some glucose gel that I grabbed and rubbed on the patient's gums, he aroused, and ate two dinner trays.
  9. by   llg
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    ...but there will always be someone "above" you and there will always be someone "below" you.
    Exactly. No matter what level of education you have or get, there will always be some people who have more ... or who have accomplished more in their careers than you have. And there will always be other people who have less education than you have and/or have accomplished less.

    There will always be people who are "glad they aren't stuck with your job" ... and others who "wish they had a great job like you have."

    That's just the way life is. If you are happy with where you are in life, then be happy and don't fret about it too much. If you are unhappy, then work to put yourself in a better place.

    Good luck to you.
  10. by   KiaLpntoBsn
    Hey honestly, the way I dealt with it is by applying to Rn school. For some reason being an Lpn is like a middleman. You're above the CNA but under the RN. It's difficult and I totally understand. One time at my Snf I had an emt asked me was if I was a nurse or a "little play nurse" hence Lpn. I was soo vexed after hearing that that I started looking for a school to go to that day. That was 3 years ago and now I'm in my last semester of nursing school for BSN. It just depends on whether you want to stay in that title and be strong with it or elevate your education. Although that comment that man made offended me , it also motivated me to Persue what I am destined to be a RN. Hope this helps.
  11. by   Gray_lover03
    I just got accepted into a lvn program and hope I don't get put down for my job. My goal is to become an RN but this is just the first step of making my dream happen. People are just so mean for putting LPN/LVN's down!
  12. by   fibroblast
    Quote from KiaLpntoBsn
    Hey honestly, the way I dealt with it is by applying to Rn school. For some reason being an Lpn is like a middleman. You're above the CNA but under the RN. It's difficult and I totally understand. One time at my Snf I had an emt asked me was if I was a nurse or a "little play nurse" hence Lpn. I was soo vexed after hearing that that I started looking for a school to go to that day. That was 3 years ago and now I'm in my last semester of nursing school for BSN. It just depends on whether you want to stay in that title and be strong with it or elevate your education. Although that comment that man made offended me , it also motivated me to Persue what I am destined to be a RN. Hope this helps.
    Interesting how some EMTs act towards LPNs. They have been rude in my facility but in the end it is my call. My pt is unstable, get him out of here.
  13. by   moretonel
    I've been working as an LPN at a LTC and rehab facility for almost a year now, and never had an issue of being "recognized" as a nurse. I have been questioned if I'm going back to school to get an RN - I honestly reply, "Not sure yet." I'm not offended by it, nor do I think it was meant to be offensive, just casual conversation.

    When there's a new admit I'm giving meds or treatment, I introduce myself, "Hi, my name is John Doe, the nurse, I'm here to do ..." My work badge clearly says "LPN". Never a question. There is no distinguishable difference where I work - RNs and LPNs do the exact same assessments, med pass, treatments, wound care, specimen retrieval, injections, vaccinations, charting, transcription, etc. The only thing that LPNs can't do from my experience and observation where I work is be nurse supervisor.

    RNs and LPNs have the same title, Charge Nurse. That may be a good response, "I'm the charge nurse."

    You may hear that LPNs can't do initial assessments. I've done admissions which includes initial assessments. You may also hear that LPNs can't write care plans. More often than not, residents and patients are being transferred from another care facility or hospital with documentation of physical, emotional, social diagnosis with medical and nursing treatments, interventions, and how they responded - continuity of care. Along with the facility's protocol of common nursing diagnosis and interventions and initial assessments at admissions, I have also done the initial care plan creation during admissions. I as an LPN have done it all.

    In the time I've worked at nothing no treatment or intervention has been out of my scope of practice. That may be another response, if questioned about your LPN, "I work within the scope of nursing."

    You know what you do. You know who you are. You are a nurse, damn it! Say it loud and proud!
  14. by   Wiggly Litchi
    Quote from Gray_lover03
    People are just so mean for putting anyone down!
    fixed that

    I've heard some stuff as a CNA lol - "She just wipes arses all day, what does she know?" Well, I can also strip and make an occupied bed in 2 minutes and I can take a mean set of vitals.

    It doesn't matter where we are on the ladder; to some people we'll always be "Just a _______" - what really matters is how we respond to that. I try not to get into pissing contests with people when they put me down as it doesn't serve any purpose. I just keep doing the one thing I'm in the building for: my job.

    I might be just a CNA to some, and some may be just an LPN/LVN/RN/BSN etc. to others~ the list goes on.
    But it's totally rad because I'm doing something I enjoy, and the people that put me down have no bearing on my life whatsoever. Sure, in the moment it stings; especially in the case of nurses (at all levels) since you've put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into obtaining your licenses. I can understand that the lack of respect is upsetting, but don't let that moment sit with you, and be sure to treat those under you with kindness.


    As a side-note though; the only ones who have given me crap for being 'just' a CNA are the ones most insecure with their position. lol

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