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LPNs and advanced certifications


Do you believe LPNs who meet all other criteria should be denied advanced certifications only because they are not RNs?

I can remember when LPNs could not be ACLS and all of the usual arguments were made. Now years later it is accepted without much thought. Certifications encourage learning and establish minimum standards of care in some specialties. I have had my ACLS since 1993 and more than 100 codes later have observed no apprehension on the part of Drs or RNs at any ER or ICU I have worked. On the other hand I completed TNCC with the second highest score in 1995 to be denied a card only because I was an LPN. The very nature of certifications is to demostrate competency. Why should an LPN be denied this chance, after all, if they are not capable will they not fail?

The heads that be have been aflap for years trying to make it impossible for anyone without a baccalaureate degree to get a certification too...so LPN's shouldn't feel singled out. ;(

Every time I recert my CCRN there are always these ominous warnings circulating...."This will be the last time you can get this as a diploma nurse".

But it ain't happened yet. :)

Well, I'm going to have to duck and run with this post so all the LPNs in the world don't start throwing tomatoes at me. But, here goes. Some 30 years ago, I started as a CNA. Then I became a surgical tech. Then, an LPN, then an RN. When I was an LPN, I felt the exact same way that you do now. But, the difference between LPN and RN is huge. As an LPN, you can't see it. The things that you would know as a RN would give you a strong foundation for the "practical" skills of the certification. I have no doubt that you are knowledgeable in your chosen area. But, only that area. To understand what you are really doing and the implications of what you are doing, you MUST have the anatomy/physiology, the micro, the "advanced" understanding. Please don't think I'm pulling the "I'm an RN" routine. Please don't think I'm putting LPNs down. I'm simply saying that, in this case, or any other where LPNs are limited in their practice, is necessary. Please go get your RN. You deserve to do what you love.

I think along the same lines. There are so many different areas I would like to experience, but am limited because I'm an LPN.

So I've made my decision to get the RN. Then more doors will be open to me wheerre I can practice what I desire greatly to do.

But for now I try to grasp everything I possibly can from any RN or experienced LPN that are willing to share their knowledge.


Specializes in ICU, Transplant, Dialysis..

you must have the anatomy/physiology, the micro, the "advanced" understanding

well, that is somewhat true, but don't count on it to hold as much water as you think it does. i had a pre-med degree before i got my cna,, emt, lpn, and now, rn. i had more "'advance' understanding" of a&p, micro, physics, organic chem, biology, calc... whatever else one might think i can brag about... but when i got into nursing, and i'm talking about cna, lpn and rn, i was humbled by the knowledge and skill of everyone around me.

i think withholding such certification as tncc from the lpns is just a power-trip. tncc, like acls is not a license. when you have the certification, it does not mean you will run the show at a code or trauma. it just acknowledges that you've gone through the class and regurgitated the information on paper and the practice stations. nothing more, nothing less.

i believe we should reward both the lpns and rns fairly what we've denmonstrated.

I am not aware what TNCC is...can someone enlighten me? I've worked with CCRN's and CEN's and RNC's, but not TNCC.

Gotta love all these initials we can plunk after our names...LOL!!

If it's like ACLS, an extra skill level...then I DO feel LPN's should be eligible. :)


Specializes in Everything except surgery. Has 27 years experience.

mattmom...TNCC stands for Truama Nurse Core Course. This is the purpose of the course:

ENA developed and implemented the TNCC for national and international dissemination as a means of identifying a standardized body of trauma nursing knowledge. The TNCC (Provider) is a 16 or 20-hour course designed to provide the learner with cognitive knowledge and psychomotor skills.

Now I did what they call "auditing"...this course...but I could not do the testing part...or receive a card saying I had done this. But they had no problem taking my money...:chuckle

Now what is the rational there??? There is none...as SuperMan pointed out. It doesn't give me anymore authority to do anything but be more knowledgable...just as my completing an ACLS course did.

I just recieved a reply from ONS (oncology nurses society) about being ONC (oncology nurse certified). ONS said that theirs is a volunteer organization but never said why I could not "volunteer" to become a full member. ONCC, who does the testing said there program was for "professional" nurses.

And to think I have been doing this for 14yr.s as a hobby.

As the nursing shortage increases, how can these pompus institutions continue to discriminate against qualified LPNs and in some cases 2yr RNs? Why do hospitals even acknowledge these organizations who exclude good nurses who are already working in these fields to the satisfation of our employers?

Mixed feelings on this one...I've also jumped through multiple hoops-Aide(pre "CNA" days) to LVN to BSN (clepped all but the courses I had to take) to MSN. When I was an LVN in the ICU, I was doing primary care-not within my scope of practice, as I recognize. I also worked with outstanding LVNs also working outside their scope of practice. My "transition" in that same ICU from LVN to RN consisted of three words: "go to work". (Ooops, I forgot; I could now give TPN and blood and take charge). As an LVN, I had ACLS, BLS, NALS (now NRP) and PALS. (Still do).

Was I irritated that I had to wait the requisite years before I could take the CCRN? Frankly, Yes. After all, I'd been in ICU forever. MY solution: a specialized certification that speaks to the LVN/LPN scope of practice within the specialty area; a CCLPN, CELPN, COLPN...you get the idea. We should give these professional peers the benefit of their expertise.


Specializes in Everything except surgery. Has 27 years experience.

Originally posted by JeannieM

MY solution: a specialized certification that speaks to the LVN/LPN scope of practice within the specialty area; a CCLPN, CELPN, COLPN...you get the idea. We should give these professional peers the benefit of their expertise.

My thoughts on your suggestion...is that this is an excellent idea. Maybe this would allieviate the impression that an LP/VN is trying to go outside of their scope of practice...for those who have a problem with our obtaining advanced certifications. Although I really think... most LP/VNs are more than aware of their scope of practice, and have no problems staying within them...:cool:


Specializes in Perinatal/neonatal.

I just wanted to comment that this has been the most civilized conversation regarding LPN's I have ever seen on this board. You all have posted some excellent posts and I am learning so much from you all! :D



I guess I'll throw my two cents in as well. I am an LPN and have been licensed for over ten years. I've talked to and worked with RN's that weren't as knowledgable as I am. I spent three years in college in California taking prerequisites and completing the year and a half long vocational nursing program. I was paid by the college to tutor fellow classmates in Anatomy and Physiology. I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout the entire nursing program and made the Dean's list. I recieved a scholarship and have studied microbiology, physiology, anatomy, pharmacology and medical terminology. I can figure out a drip rate and do all the math that RN's do. I am IV certified and behave in a professional manner. I was disappointed in the board exams. I thought they'd be more difficult than they were. I always pushed myself to learn as much as I could.

I just feel it's an individual thing. I hear the CNA's mumbling that they know more than the nurses (and maybe they do in some instances). I don't believe that the title behind our names mean everything. It's what an individual puts into his or her educational experience. I read science text books for fun because I enjoy it and have a love for science. I'm appalled that certified med techs are able to pass meds here in Missouri after taking a 6wk course in pharmacology!

I do respect your opinions and everyone has been very polite on the issue. I know we all have strong feelings on the matter. I have a year left to get my RN with Associate in Science. I'm doing so because it will open doors for me and lift many restrictions. It will also increase my salary and make me more marketable. I do feel that LPN's should be allowed advanced certifications as long as they make the grade!!

Oh, and Hi Youda! I saw you're in Joplin, MO. I'm kinda close to ya. I'm in St. Louis, MO for the moment (smile). Thanks for the input.

Deb :nurse:

I understand what LVN/LPN's are feeling but unfortunately this country is credential crazy. You can have all the certificates and degrees but if you do not have that RN they don't acknowledge it. It is not fair. There are a lot of very knowledgeable LVN/LPN and the powers that be are making it so that they are limited. That is one of the reasons I decided to become a RN so I can excel in any area or practice of nursing with out worrying about my initals . Noone, regardless of their title should be denied to gain knowledge and receive certificates for it, it can only help that individual. :-)

originally posted by brownms46

my thoughts on your suggestion...is that this is an excellent idea. maybe this would allieviate the impression that an lp/vn is trying to go outside of their scope of practice...for those who have a problem with our obtaining advanced certifications. although i really think... most lp/vns are more than aware of their scope of practice, and have no problems staying within them...:cool:

some 15 years ago lvn's/lpn's were allowed to seek area specific certifications. i can recall being able to apply for, take, test and wait for certifications in et, diabetic ed, and become a part of the iv therapy team. i suppose the idea that we could adequately perform by acquiring area specific goals bruised some egos or stepped on some toes. in like fashion, we could join the critical care association altho we had no voting rights. in today's ego-oriented world, we cannot even submit an application. it certainly was not easy to focus on a letter that read "we can no longer accept your renewal...." so is there a solution to appease all factions? probably not! as long as we continue to see the new focus of medicine and nursing based upon titles and not abilitites, focus on narrow fields of vision that we as lvn's/lpn's have limited knowledge, and as long as we do not strive to make nursing a unified front will discussions like this continue. i will continue to be proud of who i am,my abilities, bask in the respect offerred me by physicians, colleagues and like persons. i will continue to be confident in the things i know that i can do within my scope of practice and the knowledge that can be shared.

I can easily understand the frustations of both sides. We want to do everything we are able. Where I am, we are expected to offer the same quality care as an RN and for less money. RNs were told they were professionals because they went to school longer, took more classes and payed more money. And I could name great RNs I have worked with all day long without repeating any names, however I can do the same for LPNs and more than a few CNAs.

Are LPNs the bastards of nursing? Maybe so. Should they have made a position that was by nature neither, nor? Probably not. But we are here. So what do we do now? Do we quietly set in the back of the bus and be thankful for what we have? Do we refuse to set in the back and be in conflict with some of our coworkers? Or do we get our own bus?

Some of us went to school almost as long as ASRNs and are allowed to do little more than wipe butts. That isn't fair. When I worked at Parkland they said I was special, that they would let LVNs do more if others were more like me. I said if you let them do more most would be more like me.

I see a simularity between MDs/DOs and between RNs/LPNs. DOs used to be the shortcut to being able to play doctor. Now their schools are nearly identical as is their scope of practice. I see LPNs as used to be a shortcut to being a nurse and now many of us have nearly the same scope of practice. I believe we should be able to do what we are already successfully doing. I am not sure separate certifications are the answer. That leads to segregation, "separate but equal". So I guess I lead more toward "conflict with some of our coworkers". But this route does not have to be so bad. Most nurses respect other good nurses reguardless of titles, and diploma and two year RNs have some of the same concerns. I believe things can change with everyone working toward a new difinition of nursing. What are others points of view?

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