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The Difference Between LPNs and RNs

The Difference Between LPNs and RNs

Kathy Quan | NursingLink

BSN Requirement?

There is a growing trend to distinguish RNs as “professional nurses” and LPNs as “technical nurses.” Some argue that nursing will never be a true profession until all nurses have a BSN or above, and that leaves LPNs high and dry.

Making the BSN a minimal educational requirement for all nurses has long been discussed, but the nursing shortage has always found a way to interfere with this goal. Fewer RNs on the market has lead to an increase in the number of LPNs being hired, stalling the process of demanding a BSN for all nurses.

However, many employers are now demanding new hires have both experience and a BSN education. In fact, newly graduated nurses are having trouble finding jobs because older and more experienced nurses are delaying retirement or returning to the workforce, if retired. New nurses who do land a job often have a BSN or higher degree.

Furthermore, studies over the last few decades prove that when the majority of the nursing staff is BSN-educated, patient care and outcomes are greatly improved, including a decrease in mortality. And when the entire staff has a BSN degree or higher, the results are even more improved. This is not to fault nurses who have less education, rather, it just points out that the level of knowledge and skill has an impact on patient care.

Nursing Hierarchy

Nursing is a hierarchy of licensure based on skills and education, but no role should ever be taken for granted or deemed less of a nurse as far as the art of nursing goes. This is why, to address varying needs and concerns, there are segmented roles such as CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and advance practice RNs. They all come together to take care of the patient, working as a team.

It’s insulting to hear “Oh you’re just a nurse.” Likewise, LPNs are not “just LPNs.” They do more than take vitals, give bed baths and back rubs, and change linens; they are life-savers to RNs when things get stressful and hectic. Although their license limits what they may do, LPNs are a very important part of the team. Training, education, experience — all of that is secondary when you work together for the patient’s health.

Nurses are said to “eat their young,” as older, more experienced professionals challenge the incoming of new nurses. Let’s not “eat” each other as well! Nursing is not about what license you hold, what education you have, and who does their job better, but about providing the best quality of care possible and making a difference for the patient. It should not be about rivalry for respect and attention. We all need to get past this rivalry and work together to provide quality healthcare for all.

Next: Why You’re NOT Getting Into Nursing School >>

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    19sharron

    about 3 years ago

    18 comments

    I am so glad that someone finally noticed the fact that we are all in this together no matter what type of nurse you are. Amen!!

  • Blue_birds_max50

    neerukp

    about 3 years ago

    7482 comments

    LPNs, RNs are Professionally trained., The responsibilities of RN & LPN differ based on their training and education

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    2Leilani

    about 3 years ago

    10 comments

    Everyone is commenting on the differences between LPNs and RNs, but what does anyone think of Medication Aides in Texas I hear it is a booming job there. Medication Aides recieve training and certification in giving medication but, no license. What is the opinion of other nurses on this.

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    2Leilani

    about 3 years ago

    10 comments

    I have been a LPN for over 24 yrs and I have had a love/hate relationship with the nursing profession every since. I started my career in a community hospital and the nurse to patient was much higher than today. Now that hospital want an all RN staff the nurse to patient ratio dropped sufficantly. LPNS are now only able to find work in nursing homes, where the nurse to patient ratio is 1 to 30 or 1 to 45. Depending or the shift worked maybe more than that. Now if RNs come into the nursing homes will they recieve the same amount of patients as LPNs? If LPNs are displaced why are the schools still turning out new and unneeded graduates?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 3 years ago

    LPN RN NO dif. unless you want a managemnet position..

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Brightlpn

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a LPN. I work w/ a wonderful group of LPNs & RNs. The only difference in our jobs is the RNs ability to hang bld & give IV pushes. We all have the same duties from complete patient care to medication administration. We all work our rear-ends off. Techs would be a huge help, unfortunately my rotation has 1; sometimes. Then you have to take into consideration all the charting & paperwork, which takes us away from our patients. I love being a nurse & taking care of my patients, but it can all be a little daunting sometimes though.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    RitzauRN

    over 3 years ago

    10 comments

    I am a BSN trained RN who works with a majority BSN trained nurses and a few associate degree RNs, but we don't have any LPNs at our facility. My observation thus far is that the quality of care (and compassion) is not related to the degree the RN holds, but rather their work ethic and intrinsic values. I think that knowledge is more important than compassion as a starting block but once every one has comparable information and experience under their belt that is when caring really becomes important to the patient and family. In fact I find some BSN and OCN certified RNs that I don't have confidence in as much as the associate level RNs who really know their stuff!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PEARL

    over 3 years ago

    14 comments

    I have lived in several staes it depends where you live. I am much more respected as a nurse in New Mexico and I was used in my full scope of practice. I am from New York and here compared to there I am a glorified nurses aide, You may say then go back to New Mexico, I love New York and this is the state I was born in. For years New York has told us they are going to phase out LPN's but I believe that every Rn has had her favorite LPN who saved her you no what more than once. I don't care who works the hardest I care I am a good nurse and I believe I am, I care about that thank you that is heart felt from the patient I took care of last night. The only thing that bothers me at times is teacher are honored every day when is the last time a nurse or a doctor got the same repect one teaches our children the other saves lives every day......................Pearl

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    lilganurse

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Scope of practice is dependent upon the state in which you live and is limited for the most part.. The only true difference is the ability to hang blood and push IV drugs. So with this being said the gap between the two is almost non-existent. I have been both and realize that there is something to be said for hands on experience. You can read about something all day long but until you must act or should i say react, then you never really know what you are doing... Frankly I am disappointed in the local colleges and universities for graduating the type of nurses that they are. These grad nurses have absolutely no common sense and feel as though they are entitled. Nursing is 1% Knowledge and 99% compassion. It is a way of life and should be respected as such.. So LPN , RN it doesn't really matter. What matters is the care that you give to your patients...

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    Account Removed

    over 3 years ago

    The real key is, without the team work of both LPN's and RN's the patient would not receive the quality of care they are entitled to at the mercy of our health care system. Learning to work together inspite of the differences and legal limitations and respecting each others role is the most important piece of the puzzle. The question is; Who does more, the Physician or the Nurse?

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