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Where are LPNs typically used?


Hi everybody, I'm fresh out of high school and starting LPN school in January. Although I'm just starting out and everything I don't really have my heart set on continuing for my RN afterwards. A lot of people have told me I would be wasting my time by going through the LPN program and that if I want to be a nurse and have security about my career I need to just go straight for my BSN because more hospitals are making a move toward bachelors educated nurses. (Although it's worth noting that most of these people aren't RNs themselves..) But I don't buy that it's a "waste of time" to be trained as an LPN.

I'm in Tennessee and it seems that most of the LPN opportunities in my area are in LTC/private duty agencies/nursing homes, rehab centers, and sometimes doctor's offices and maybe urgent care centers. Which doesn't really bother me, I wouldn't mind working in any of those areas. The local hospital here has a lot of listings for RNs and CNTs but for LPNs it seems to be few and far between any more. They were recently taken over/ merged with Covenant Health which is sort of like a network of healthcare providers in East Tennessee. Since the merger I was told that some LPNs were let go or moved to lower positions. I've always gravitated towards wanting to be an ER nurse or work in labor and delivery but I'm getting the impression that that will be out of the question unless I get the desire to go forward and bridge to RN after my LPN. I'm sure I will learn more about myself and the areas that might suit me during clinical rotations in nursing school, and I haven't written off any other options but I think I might like to work in a doctors office or urgent care if I have the opportunity.

I guess I'm sort of just throwing this out there in hopes of hearing some insight.. I'm young and naive and haven't been exposed to the work force (although I've been exposed to the medical field more than most people are in their entire lives, but that's a story for a different forum.) so I'd love to hear from some seasoned LPNs who actually know what they are talking about. I'm dealing with a little bit of confusion about the role of an LPN as opposed to RN. A lot of people would seem to have me think I wouldn't have a future in practical nursing. I'm hearing all conflicting things from all sides so I'd like to hear from some voices of reason. Thanks! :up:

Archerlpvn, LPN, LVN

Specializes in Home health, Addictions, Detox, Psych and clinics.. Has 9 years experience.

Certain areas use LPNs in urgent care in my area of Denver. LPNs are nurses too FYI. If you indeed want to work in the ER L&D then you should probably head straight for that RN if that is your ultimate desire. Stopping at the LPN level isn't a bad idea either as you will get great exposure to nursing and it would hopefully make transitioning easier moving beyond. As far as scope goes between RN vs LPN, there are a few major differences and they honestly vary from state to state. A lot of differences pertain to IVs, process in care planning, and of course supervision.


Has 18 years experience.

Where do you live?

Research your local employment market.

I work in Canada and we are pretty much everywhere in the healthcare system.

Thank you both. I feel pretty good about the whole thing right now. I really look forward to starting school where I will hopefully have some counsel and resources. I've already talked with the instructors and they seem like they will be great. It seems like people have been saying LPNs would go extinct for years but just by my observation it doesn't seem like that's going to happen any time soon.. just have to look in the right places eh. Meanwhile I'm trying to do as much research as I can about different opportunities for LPNs in my area and their typical duties. The longer I've looked into it the more the urgent care idea appeals to me. Seems like that's a pretty promising option here in my local job market. I'm very open to stopping at LPN and to be honest I love the idea of it as long as I figure out where exactly my niche in nursing is and if I can attain that as an LPN. {I may just be weary from 13 consecutive years of school at this point.)

I will say I'm glad I don't have to decide now, although I have been advised that some people put off going for their RN liscense and then just never do it after becoming an LPN. I'll just have to see what happens. :)

Like the previous posters said, it really depends on the area in which you live. In my region, LPNs are typically found (ok, ONLY found) in long-term care and clinics/medical offices. They are not hired in ANY hospitals or urgent care facilities, nothing acute.

Once you figure out what license is being hired and for what in your area, you'll have a better idea of what you need to do.

Good luck!

I live in Pittsburgh. I work on an inpatient hospice unit. In this area most LPNs work home care, LTC or clinics / physician office. Our big hospital system, UPMC does not hire LPNs to work in the hospitals, however they do employ them as I stated above. If you want to work ER, you need an RN.

I have been an LVN/LPN for 29 years, AND it has been a crazy/heart wrenching/heartwarming/loving ride throughout. I never wanted to go for my RN for varied reasons over the years, the main now being that the 29 years experience as an LVN would mean nothing when you get that RN now. Being a LVN/LPN is not for everybody....yet- for those that stick it out, it will turn out to be a career where you get to go home and think proudly many times "I made a difference in that persons' life!!". Yes, compared to many other jobs the pay stinks, the hours can be long and stressful, and frequently you feel pulled from all four directions. But, most importantly the biggest payment you will ever receive is a patient, with true gratitude in her/his eyes, saying they are glad you are there. And at least to me....this make all the stress worth it.

Thank you for all the responses I really appreciate it. I couldn't be happier with nursing as my career choice and I'm enjoying reading around on the site. I'm so excited to start school. It'll be a challenge I've been trying to prepare myself for for a while. As for whether I'll get my RN later on I really can't say. I've just always felt very drawn to pursing practical nursing, maybe it won't be my final destination but maybe it will. That's one thing I like about nursing as a profession; there are so many different ways of getting there.