Jump to content

What is the Difference Between LPN and LVN?

Published

Many people ask, "What's the difference between LPNs and LVNs?" The intended purpose of this article is to satisfactorily answer this frequently asked question.

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

What is the Difference Between LPN and LVN?

First of all, LPN is a commonly used acronym that stands for licensed practical nurse. According to Johnson (n.d.), a licensed practical nurse is an entry-level nursing professional who strengthens the health care team by caring for basic patient needs.

LPNs are utilized in different types of health care settings in the United States, Canada, and several other countries to provide nursing care to a wide range of patient populations.

In the United States, the nurse practice acts of most state boards of nursing explicitly declare that LPNs must work under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse (RN). This supervision can be direct, indirect, or remote depending on the state in which the nurse is practicing. After all, the LPN is very often the only licensed nurse physically present in many health care facilities, home health visits, or private duty cases on certain shifts even though a physician or RN is always available during these hours by telephone.

LVN is another widely used acronym that stands for licensed vocational nurse. So, what is the difference between the LPN and the LVN?

Other than the geographical locations involved, no significant differences exists between LPNs and LVNs.

No major differences in educational preparation, licensure, role, or skill set exist between the LVN and the LPN designation. In other words, they are the exact same type of nurse. The boards of nursing in the US states of California and Texas refer to basic nurses as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), while the various boards in the remaining 48 states use the title of licensed practical nurse (LPN) to refer to their basic nurses.

For instance, the LPN who lives and works in Seattle, Washington has decided to relocate to Los Angeles. Once he obtains a California license by endorsement and starts working in his new city of residence, his official title is now 'LVN.'

However, if he ever moved back to Seattle or relocated to any US state that used the 'LPN' title to refer to basic nurses, his title would automatically change back to 'LPN' as long as he continued to keep his Washington LPN license in active status or obtained licensure in other states.

I was an LVN for approximately four years and was initially licensed in the state of California prior to attaining licensure by endorsement in Texas. However, I had to obtain an Oklahoma license because I made plans to attend an RN completion program in that state. After my endorsement application was approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, I possessed two LVN licenses and one LPN license.

References

What Is An LPN Allowed To Do?

TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

224 Articles   27,608 Posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

14 Comment(s)

SE_BSN_RN, BSN

Specializes in LTC, Agency, HHC. Has 8 years experience.

First of all, LPN is a commonly used acronym that stands for licensed practical nurse. According to Johnson (n.d.), a licensed practical nurse is an entry-level nursing professional who strengthens the health care team by caring for basic patient needs.

LPNs are utilized in different types of health care settings in the United States, Canada, and several other countries to provide nursing care to a wide range of patient populations. In the United States, the nurse practice acts of most state boards of nursing explicitly declare that LPNs must work under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse (RN). This supervision can be direct, indirect, or remote depending on the state in which the nurse is practicing. After all, the LPN is very often the only licensed nurse physically present in many health care facilities, home health visits, or private duty cases on certain shifts even though a physician or RN is always available during these hours by telephone.

LVN is another widely used acronym that stands for licensed vocational nurse. So, what is the difference between the LPN and the LVN? Other than the geographical locations involved, no significant differences exists between LPNs and LVNs.

No major differences in educational preparation, licensure, role, or skill set exist between the LVN and the LPN designation. In other words, they are the exact same type of nurse. The boards of nursing in the US states of California and Texas refer to basic nurses as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), while the various boards in the remaining 48 states use the title of licensed practical nurse (LPN) to refer to their basic nurses.

For instance, the LPN who lives and works in Seattle, Washington has decided to relocate to Los Angeles. Once he obtains a California license by endorsement and starts working in his new city of residence, his official title is now 'LVN.' However, if he ever moved back to Seattle or relocated to any US state that used the 'LPN' title to refer to basic nurses, his title would automatically change back to 'LPN' as long as he continued to keep his Washington LPN license in active status or obtained licensure in other states.

I was an LVN for approximately four years and was initially licensed in the state of California prior to attaining licensure by endorsement in Texas. However, I had to obtain an Oklahoma license because I made plans to attend an RN completion program in that state. After my endorsement application was approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, I possessed two LVN licenses and one LPN license.

RESOURCES

Johnson, K. (n.d.). What Is An LPN Allowed To Do? EHow. Retrieved September 22, 2012, from What Is an LPN Allowed to Do? | eHow.com

I had an LVN license in CA, and I am an LPN in CO. No difference. Great writing, Commuter!

spectrabrite, LVN

Has 1 years experience.

I am a CA LVN and working on my Florida endorsement paperwork to be a FL LPN. Its all the same.

gypsynurse

Specializes in Hospital, Foot Nurse, NRSNG Educator.

In Florida I am an LPN.... in Ontario Canada , I am an RPN, again pretty much the same thing... (Registered Practical Nurse)

how do you apply for it? coz im a nurse in the philippines and just migrated here in california.

Thanks for clarifying!

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 6 years experience.

I figured it they were the same. Kind of like how PCAs and CNAs are the same job different title.

Strawberrykool

Specializes in Dialysis. Has 3+ years experience.

I figured it they were the same. Kind of like how PCAs and CNAs are the same job different title.

Same job different title and different pay also

vintagemother, ADN, CNA, LVN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele.

Is the nclex pn the same test as the nclex VN? I ask this because I'm a Californian and all of the test prep books I've seen refer to the nclex pn? If you can recommend a good prep book for california, I'd love a reccomendation! Thanks!

Hopefuldogmom, LVN

Specializes in 4. Has 7 years experience.

I bought Saunders & Lippincott NCLEX PN books (I live in Cal). I didn't use either when I took the exam. All I used was an $8 app on my phone & I passed at the minimum # of questions.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Is the nclex pn the same test as the nclex VN? I ask this because I'm a Californian and all of the test prep books I've seen refer to the nclex pn? If you can recommend a good prep book for california, I'd love a reccomendation! Thanks!
There's no such thing as the NCLEX-VN. If you completed an LVN program in California and plan to become licensed as an LVN in CA, you will be taking the NCLEX-PN.

Therefore, NCLEX-PN study materials should be suitable for your studies. Good luck to you!