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LPNs are still good nurses

Posted

Specializes in Sub-Acute. Has 5 years experience.

I'm getting really irritated with all the "when are you getting your RN" questions I get. Or, when someone at work hears me say in an LPN (when I'm signing for something usually) and they say "Oh, I thought you were an RN". What's that supposed to mean?   I'm a good nurse so I shouldn't be an LPN?   

I probably will get my RN so I can stay in my field yet also move up, but It will do very little for the role I'm in now.  We literally do the exact same job as bedside RNs in this setting. (Sub-acute, some LTC).  The only thing we can't do that ever comes up in this setting is pronounce.  We don't give blood or blood products in this setting, so that's not an issue, nor do we IV push - and my state has a liberal scope for LPNs.  I can assess, start IVs, work with PICC lines, administer through PICC lines, and administer TPN.  (IV/TPN cert).  

So,  I really have no need to get my RN if I'm to stay in the setting Im in. It won't affect my practice, I never have to "go get an RN" to do something for me (unless my patient dies, which isn't a problem really- although its annoying)  I want it mostly because I love learning and I want the freedom to move around as I like and maybe eventually (like in 10 years) move up to ADNS, etc.  

LPNs are nurses, just like RNs.  We have a different scope and a different knowledge base - but depending on the setting its not that much of a deficit.  I'm missing critical care knowledge, nursing theory and perhaps more in depth pharmacology.  That's about it.  To be honest, I've picked a lot of that up as I've become more seasoned (seasoned is something I am not.  Still marinating is more like it) but I have for sure expanded on what I learned in school.  Time will tell how helpful it will be towards my RN. My local school would only have two classes I need to take (not to be taken concurrently so it takes about a year anyways). 

I guess what I'm saying is nursing is what you make of it.  We all start off as babies with little to no idea of what we're doing, RN or LPN.   We can continue to build on or knowledge or we can call it a day, use only what pertains to the specialty we choose and never progress, but we shouldn't. 

If you love being an LPN, just be the best damn LPN you can possibly be.  Don't think you're not smart enough to become an RN (YOU ARE, you made it this far - that's the hardest part) and don't think there is anything wrong with staying an LPN.  ESPECIALLY if you work in a SNF and you love it.  You will always have a job and you will always be able to make a huge difference in the lives of your patients.  Whether they be short term or long term or both.  

Admit when you don't know something and look it up.  Don't listen to other nurses when they tell you something that sounds off - look it up.  When you see a dx you've never heard of - look it up.  When you get a new patient - read the H&P when you can, look everything up that you don't understand.  The next time you see that dx it will feel awesome. 

If you're an RN and you think working in a SNF is beneath you, think again. These facilities need good, competent nurses.  There is no such thing as being over qualified.  If you're a new grad RN you're going to learn A LOT and you'll never judge a SNF nurse as long as you live if you move on to a hospital type role.  Don't assume a skill level or knowledge base is sub par just because it belongs to an LPN, you might be surprised. 

Oh and no matter who you are or where you work. Help your damn CNAs.  Never delegate out of convenience.  EVER.  If you are free, you can do non-nursing tasks.  Always.  If you are asking them to do something for you it better be because you are doing something they can not do.  They are assets, not slaves.   This also gives you a leg to stand on when you need to teach them or call them out.  You will be respected and they are more likely to listen. 

I'm getting off a couple of busy shifts and I just wanted to write this all out.  I don't know why I went in 5 different directions.  Im putting it in the LPN corner because I feel like If I put it in general nursing I'll get a lot of negative feedback and thats not really super helpful.  

You guys will get it, and maybe it will help someone. 

Elektra6, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Home Health, LTC, subacute. Has 16 years experience.

I got my RN, not because I was unhappy with my job but because I thought LPNs were being “phased out”.  I haven’t made that much more money as an RN and I am limited in jobs because I never worked in a hospital.  Getting your RN does not always mean a giant jump in pay or unlimited opportunities.  I still get annoying questions like “why don’t you get your APN?” or my fav “why don’t you work in a hospital?” Cause one won’t hire me LOL 

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

OP - you made some very thought provoking points in your post. All so very true. Esp the parts re CNAs and LTC/SNFs.

You're right though, for furthering career options in a nursing tract, you will need your RN and the nec education creds that most assuredly will be needed to do so. There are pathways in & out of the HC industry that utilize LPNs with alternate degrees. They are valuable assets.

But again you're correct that so many folk, in HC and just general public, JUST DON'T GET IT!

 

sandlpn1

Specializes in Internal medicine/pediatrics. Has 30 years experience.

I am very happy being an LPN. I have heard all the comments in the past. Be the best you can, being responsible and accountable and keeping up on your continuing education. Develop a relationship with your patients and continue to learn and grow through experience. BTW I worked in LTC before every member of the team in that setting is important.

Edited by sandlpn1

It'sYaGirlK, CNA, LPN

Has 1 years experience.

I am a LPN who is also IV Certified and works in a position where the LPNs and RNs do the same thing as well. I’m going back for my RN so I won’t feel “limited” in my career choice and do not plan to retire at the bedside. I too am tired of people asking me when am I going back for my RN especially being I’ve only been a LPN for 9 months 🤦🏾‍♀️. Like let me be great and mind you’re business 🤷🏾‍♀️ 

neuron

Has 5 years experience.

LPN's are given WAY more stressful tasks ( in the context of being less respected) such as being responsible for 60 patients or more depending on how many they 'want' to give you. While they aren't the text book acute patient, they go down hill very fast too and the LPN has to work with less resources. The LPNs on our isolation unit are dealing with death, unstable patients on IV abx, critical labs/CXR's on a daily bases and add a trach with all these scenarios. There's no line to be drawn except for what the board says we can't do, give blood or push I.V.'s.

Edited by fibroblast

On 10/17/2020 at 2:58 PM, fibroblast said:

LPN's are given WAY more stressful tasks ( in the context of being less respected) such as being responsible for 60 patients or more depending on how many they 'want' to give you. While they aren't the text book acute patient, they go down hill very fast too and the LPN has to work with less resources. The LPNs on our isolation unit are dealing with death, unstable patients on IV abx, critical labs/CXR's on a daily bases and add a trach with all these scenarios. There's no line to be drawn except for what the board says we can't do, give blood or push I.V.'s.

Part of this is the reason I've stuck with home health. You are describing one of my former classmates' position. I always feel scared for her and constantly tell her to go into home health. No amount of pay will drag me into that environment. 

But there are a myriad reasons why some of us start as LPNs and stay ones for awhile. For me I'd have to keep working full time on top of paying living expenses and schooling esp since I don't want to take out anymore. A hybrid school would be ideal but those are hard to come by. There's also prereqs and waiting lists. Honestly school doesn't sound appealing and I'm not sure anything more than an ADN will pay off bc I don't like working in facilities and outside of a hospital (if you are fortunate enough to get into one) the pay between RNs and LPNs doesn't seem to vary that much. I think people glorify the hospital RN a little too much.

For me I'm just happy to have a paycheck and still be employable.

Eh, I just brush off these comments with “Well, it’s a little hard to go back to school and work full time if you’re the only one supporting yourself financially. It must be great that you have a spouse or family to help you out with bills. I don’t have that luxury”. That usually shuts them up. In all honesty though, I really don’t care about getting my RN. It wouldn’t advance me in the job I’m doing now and I have no desire to ever work in a hospital.