Licensed Practical Nurse vs Registered Nurse

If you want to be a nurse, then congratulations to you, because you are choosing to take up on of the hardest, but also most well respected jobs in the world.

Where would the world be without nurses? Doctors and surgeons alone aren’t going to cut it. Patients need good aftercare after their treatments. And that’s where nurses step in.

Nursing requires good social skills and even better bedside manners!

In much of the USA and also Canada, you have the option of becoming a licensed practical nurse, or a registered nurse. There are essential differences between the two, and you’ll have to think long and hard about which kind of nurse you’ll want to become.

If you want to make an informed decision, then it helps to know the differences between being an LPN and an RN. So here we go!

Job Duties

LPN

You will provide basic medical care and nursing care. It will require a lot of standing up, walking around and taking care of patients. Think of things such as checking blood pressure, or the insertion of cathethers. You’ll have to make patients comfortable by bathing them and/or dressing them.

RN

You will have to administer medication to patients, but you must also coordinate plans for the care of your patients. Diagnostics tests will have to be run and results will have to be analyzed. You must instruct your patients how to manage their conditions after they have been treated.

Education

LPN

Becoming an LPN will require you to complete a practical nursing program, which most of the time will take one year to complete. You can take these programs at community or technical colleges. You will learn things related to biology and pharmacology.

RN

If you want to become an RN, then you have no less then 3 educational options at your disposal:

  • Bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN)
  • Associate’s degree in nursing (ADN)
  • Diploma from approved nursing program

A BSN will typically take 4 years to complete. The ADN and the diploma will typically take 3 years to complete.

All courses you will take are going to include the social, behavior and physical sciences. Add to that clinical experience in actual work places.

Licensing / certification

LPN

Once you’ve completed your practical nursing course, as part of a state approved program, you will receive a certification in practical nursing. You will then have to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to actually get your license and get to work as an LPN.

RN

Every RN is required to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to acquire their license and get to work as an RN.

Pay

LPN

Median annual salary: $44,090.

RN

Median annual salary: $68,450.

Can Prescribe Medications

LPN

Yes

RN

No

Specialization

LPN

  • Women’s Health
  • Pediatric Acute Care
  • Pediatric Primary Care
  • Neonatal
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care
  • Family
  • Psychiatric Mental Health

RN

  • Surgical/Operating Room
  • Orthopedic
  • Intensive Care
  • Cardiac Medicine
  • Neonatal
  • Pediatric Endocrinology

Successful Personalities

LPN

In most states, NPs are allowed to work without the direct supervision of a doctor. This means that most NPs must be organized and independent people. You will also have to be able to work well with patients, since you’ll spend much of your time caring for them. It will help to have a lot of empathy. Since your patients will be coming from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures, demographics and what have you, it will help if you are capable of interacting with a diverse population.

RN

As an RN, you will often work under the supervision of a doctor or other nurses. Sometimes even administrators. You will need to be able to keep a cool head in the face of highly stressful situations. Since you are working closely with others, you must be able to communicate clearly and professionally. You’ll still be working with patients, so just like an LN, you must have empathy in order to be able to provide adequate care for them.

Occupational Demands

LPN

There is currently (2017) a growing demand for nurse practicitioners. The demand for this occupation is expected to grow by 31% up until the year 2022. This doesn’t mean that its expected demand will then stop growing, it simply means no extrapolations have been made beyond the year 2022 yet.

This 31% growth demand is considered to be a very high number. It is much higher than the average of other occupations.

RN

Registered nurses are also in high demand, albeit a little less than nurse practitioners. The expected demand is going to grow with an estimated 19% up until 2022. While not as high as the expected growth for a PN, this number is still considered to be really high and is still greater than of the average of all other occupations.

Conclusion

If you have ever considered a career in nursing, you’ll have to do your due diligence on the difference between LN and PN. Make a wise choice, because it’s quite the commitment you are making.

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