"LPNs should be done away with altogether"


As an offshoot to the News article about nursing education, an opinion was brought to the board that LPNs are not adequately prepared to care for patients, and that their education is not strenuous like an RN program is. Having been in the field for awhile, what is your opinion on the differences between LPNs and RNs, other than the legally different aspects (LPNs cannot do initial assessments or IVs in my state for instance)

I'm not looking to start trouble, but rather discuss the topic in an area other than an unrelated thread.

Differences in LPNs vs RNs (educationally, functionally, intellectually)

Best way to combat any possible negatives of the above

Advice for an LPN student (who is too far through her program to just throw it out and start over in an RN program - already applied for an LPN to RN program starting Jan 2010)

Should I really expect to run into attitudes in the workplace about my not being worthwhile as an employee and a care provider because I chose the path that I have? How do you handle it if you do?

There is a local small rural hospital that pays incredibly well for LPNs right out of school and who has been trying very hard to recruit us during clinicals... am I going to be inequipped to care for patients there because of my education? I would never want to get into a situation where patient care was compromised because my education was lacking somehow...


~slightly confused and frustrated LPN student


33 Posts

I too am in LPN school. Looking to start a transition program soon after as well. From what I have heard also it that LPN's are pretty useless except in LTC facilities. It makes me nervous. At our local hospitals most LPN's just go around and do vitals and things care techs would normally do. It looks to me that I may have to work in nursing home to actually "feel" like a nurse until I get my RN. I'm curious to see what everyone else says to this thread also! Great topic, thanks for starting it! I'm sure it's different from state to state or whatever area you are in i.e. city, rural.

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.

I'm also a LPN student and at my cc RN and LPNs are in the same class, clinical, and learning the same info. The only difference is that they are going on to complete two more semesters before becoming a RN. Yes its a big difference between LPNs and RNs however I won't let it get me down.

I've come too far to give up now. There is no doubt that I'm getting my RN, but until then I'll be working as a proud LPN !

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

I guess I am a little offended :crying2: I am an LPN and very proud of my accomplishments. I have been a school nurse for 17 years and I do very well. I work alone, have no back up and care for 800 students and 100 staff members.

My training was extensive, but the "learn on the job training" is very valuable.

I am an LPN and I am damn good at nursing too !

Praiser :heartbeat


1,465 Posts

I've been a LPN for four years and I now have two semesters left for my RN.

First of all, I had far more clinical experience in LPN school than I will in RN school.

Second it depends on the area and the facility as to what LPNs can do. Hospitals here hire LPNs - although most LPNs probably will be working in LTC. But LTC is becoming more and more skilled and you can get some really great experience working, for example, on a respiratory floor.

In many areas LPNs do the same tasks as RNs. The big difference is that LPNs are not allowed to assess. They also have someone to pass the buck to and do not have to worry about making certain decision. This can come in handy when you are just starting out as a nurse. I have had four years of being a nurse, having someone else to throw the problems to and learn from. I am now ready for a higher level and feel more prepared because of my experience as a LPN. I have never had anyone treat me at "just an LPN". Many supervisors and charge nurses will love a LPN that can do their job well.

They have wanted to phase out LPNs since my Mom was a nurse (1960s). But instead I have seen more and more given to LPNs due to shortages.

Personally I don't think anyone is adequately prepared to take care of patients right out of school. It takes a good year on the floor to really start feeling like a nurse IMHO.


52 Posts

Specializes in ICU,IV Team, Endoscopy, CM, LTC, Homecar. Has 18 years experience.

I have worked with alot of LPN's, I am an RN. Back in my ICU days we utililized LPN's, they were qualified to give IV push meds, some were some not. I went to Nursing School in the 1980's, they said then they were going to do away with the LPN programs. I guess it's like wether you have a ASN or BSN, they said they were doing away with those programs as well. I worked with alot of nurses with BSN, who were led to believe they were only going to be managers, and other nurses would do the grunt work. I also know that having your BSN, doesn't give you that much more on the hour, I always planned on going back, but due to health problems, that has not happened yet. I'm sure there are some differences, but in the end we are all there to care for patients, and work with all other disciplines.


454 Posts

Specializes in cardiac, ortho, med surg, oncology.

I work with some excellent LPNs. Some have been LPNs longer than I have been an RN and their experience puts them heads above me. At my facility they can do almost anything RN's do except IV push meds and hanging blood.


76 Posts

Specializes in cardiac. Has 10 years experience.

My hospital doesn't appear to be hiring LPNs any more, but the few I've worked with over the years have been just as valuable as any RN in their skill, knowledge level, and expertise thanks to years of experience on the floor. One of the LPNs went on to the IV certification class and took care of everything herself, while the other refused because she figured if she got paid less than us RNs then she was not going to do work she didn't have to do, and an RN is always assigned to do her IV flushes and meds. That part is a bit annoying when you've got your own stuff to do, but it's generally a minor inconvenience. She's the only LPN left that I can think of since the 3rd one retired and the first one quit.

jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

They also have someone to pass the buck to and do not have to worry about making certain decision. This can come in handy when you are just starting out as a nurse. I have had four years of being a nurse, having someone else to throw the problems to and learn from.

I would love to see ALL new nurses have this kind of set-up for the first year! The current system sets the stage for tensions by having new grad RNs technically delegating to experienced LPNs. And new RNs, once off orientation after anywhere from 3 days to 12 weeks, technically have full responsbility for all of the nursing care of their patients.

Instead of "doing away with" LPNs, I'd like to see ALL nurses have the same initial training - such as at the LPN level. And then those who continue on get more training and more responsibility on the job.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

Where I work, LPN's do most of what RN's do. They have their own patient load, but they can not administer certain IV meds, initiate a blood transfusion, or create a focus list for charting. They also cant access PICCs or Ports. The attitude toward them from our DON is that they are not well-educated. I however feel that the LPN's there are VERY knowledgeable and very well capable of caring for patients. Some of them (been LPN's for a very long time) were not taught how to administer ANY IV medications so they had to take a class on it, then they were allowed to administer SOME IV meds, but not alot (cant administer anything sedating/narcotics). But yes, Ive seen a bad attitude exerted toward LPN's. Their pay is MUCH less, but they work just as hard as RN's. I would suggest that any LPN go and do the bridge to RN. The pay is better and you dont have to go searching for a RN to do the things you arent allowed to do. One LPN I work with now refuses to even do a dressing change on a deepline because she feels that if she cant access one, then she wont access the dressing either.

allnurses Guide

herring_RN, ASN, BSN

3,651 Posts

Specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical. Has 51 years experience.

Aside from the very important legal scope of practice concerns I don't think hospitals are using LVNs correctly at all.

Some make the interchangable with RNs.

Others have them function like aides, not nurses.

Some do both. Use LVNs as primary nurses (not OK) and then lay them off.

Then for financial reasons want to substitute an LVN for an RN, thus doubling the responsibility of the "covering" RN.

I think in acute care the patients with the most nursing procedures should be assigned to an RN-LVN team. An RN can care for more patients when another nurse is able to suction, change dressings, do tube feedings, and administer routine medications.

That way the patients get effective care without hiring another RN.

I was an LVN for many years before earning my RN.

I'm glad that LVN/LPN students and younger nurses are planning to be RNs.


755 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 22 years experience.

I am an LPN and personally, as much as it is discussed they will never "do away" with LPNs. We can pretty much do what an RN does minus chemo drugs and hanging blood in my state. People ask me all the time when am i going to RN school....the answer is easy...NEVER! I absolutley LOVE my job. There are good LPNS and not so good LPNs just as there are RNs. :twocents:

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