Thank you for recognizing the knowledge/skill base of LPNs. There aren't many new RNs who recognize this, so it's refreshing to hear of a RN who is open to recognizing LPNs.
I graduated from my LPN program in Dec of 08. I started a regular RN program (not a bridge, since hadn't even taken NCLEX-PN yet, but had applied to the ADN program before even starting the LPN) in Jan of 09. I'm currently in my third semester of RN school, have one to go. I work full-time in long-term care and go to school full-time. My goal is to become a geriatric nurse practitioner.
My LPN training is probably going to turn out to be the most valuable education I'll receive toward becoming the kind of nurse I hope to be. The program was intensive, patient-oriented, and skill-heavy. The concentration was on care of the patient in a very practical yet holistic way. Even if I'd had no wait to get into the ADN program, I'd CHOOSE to do the LPN year of training before doing my RN.
My RN program doesn't even touch to quality of education I received in my year of LPN. The instructors are distant, the other students are with "I'm an RN-student-I-don't-have-to-do-THAT" syndrome, and the program is just overall sink-or-swim and nobody cares. The content is not in-depth...you're shown a skill once, the program is too large to even be noticed if you've mastered it (yes, you have to pass with a certain percentage, but as for details and in-depth training, it's not there). My LPN program had presence of instructors who cared that you first, had the skills mastered, critically-thought about why doing, and made sure the holistic care and professionalism by the student-nurse was considered. This is the kind of stuff that I THOUGHT the RN program would expound upon! I'm in my third semester, yet I am waiting for this.
I think the plight of LPNs is representative of overall nursing lately...LPNs are like the old-fashioned nurse as we think of: wisely applying skills for and willing to care for the WHOLE patient. Too bad this kind of nurse is going out of style. I'm proud to have been exposed to the LPN profession, and I'll be careful to never forget these fundamentals of THINKING like a LPN even when I get to big-shot RN/BSN/MSN status.