Nowadays lots of LPNs think about furthering their education by becoming Registered Nurses. Let us consider the difference between these two main categories of nursing titles.
The RN is the abbreviation for a Registered Nurse. This is a title given to a nurse who has training and clinical competence and has met the prescribed standards of education and passed the special exams. The LPN stands for a Licensed Practical Nurse. This is associated with licensed trained and qualified persons in nursing. In some states, the LPN’s are referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN). Registered Nurse is the most common among people and is more qualified and experiences than LPN.
- LPN vs RN
- How Can an LPN Become an RN
- LPN to RN Bridge Programs
- LPN to RN Educational Options
- LPN and RN Schools
- LPN to RN Courses Offered
- LPN to RN Online
- LPN and RN Job Comparison
- Job Positions for LPNs Becoming RNs
- Where LPNs and RNs Work
- LPN and RN Salaries
- Why You Should Move from LPN to RN
- An LPN/RN Resume
RN is a more advanced title because it takes a minimum of two to four years of study to be certified. A number of hospitals have diploma programs in which they offer training to people in nursing jobs. This was common in the past, but nowadays most people go for nursing courses to become registered as a nurse by getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing.
The Bachelor Degree takes four years while the Associate’s Degree runs for only two years. What you need in order to enroll for this course is a high school diploma. You may also be expected to take and pass a National League exam for nursing before you are fully accepted. There are also special programs at different schools where people who have already taken their bachelor’s degree can get a nursing degree in a very short period without taking the whole course.
When you choose to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), be sure that it has a lot of benefits. The best part about it is that you will be able to complete your education in a very short time, get certified and start earning one of the best salaries with a promising job position. However, in the job field, registered nurses are relatively higher than the LPNs. Registered nurses are typically more self-independent in terms of the work that they do, they are paid a higher salary and have better job opportunities because of their educational levels. Thus, these are some of the few reasons that have made nurses want to move from LPN to RN.
The good news for the Licensed Practical Nurses is that there are bridge programs that are offered in some schools that could help them gain the RN title in a very short period. The bridge programs can be done either manually or online from schools that have been accredited to do so. These are programs that are designed for the Licensed Practical Nurses who want to earn a higher degree in nursing. When professional nurses get an RN degree, they are able to get better and more profitable jobs. Registered Nurses work very closely with doctors and other medical staff in hospitals. First, they need to establish themselves in the entry level positions within that particular field, then they can move up and even reach the administrative, management or even higher roles.
The term LPN to RN program just acts as a cover that houses several educational options. There are three options for the LPN to RN program and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Despite the program that you choose, they all have certain similarities. They include:
1) A required number of clinical hours and instruction. This is often determined by the State Board of Nursing.
2) High school diploma is required.
3) Must have graduated from a recognized program and holds an unrestricted LPN license that is new.
The above options are included in order to prepare the students to take and get good results in the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain an RN license.
The main aim of the LPN to RN programs is to award the Licensed Practical Nurses with the skills and knowledge to carry out various duties. The individuals that already work as LPNs can take this program in order to earn credits. Due to the convenience that this program offer, they are usually considered as the best transition in the career for better opportunities that can facilitate the students to go higher in the nursing profession.
Almost all institutions of higher learning offer nursing courses; however, to acquire an LPN or RN, it is advisable that you acquire the education and training from a reputable and credited institution. The following are considerations in choosing LPN and RN schools and program:
- School’s accreditation – it assures your quality education that guarantees an employment for a lifetime.
- Online courses — this is an important consideration, especially if you are much occupied and might not find time to attend classes at the institution of your choice.
- The location of the institution – should be in a conducive environment and preferably near health institutions to allow you practical experience.
- Work-study program – allows you gain practical experience as you learn the theoretical part. It also helps you earn while still in school and settle bills.
- The management system – a great institution should have a strong management that invests in the students and is always willing to assist.
These institutions also offer LPN to RN bridging programs and give you an opportunity to advance at whatever level of a practicing LPN you are. The school and programs are affordable, you can pay in cash, take out loans or apply for scholarships or grants.
While courses and topics may vary a lot in different institutions, students who are transitioning from LPN to RN will encounter very many concepts. These include:
- Understand the defense mechanism of the body.
- Get to know the importance of exercising.
- Understand the whole human anatomy. That is the reproductive, skeletal and muscular among the rest.
- Understand the patterns of change in alleles.
- Understand ecology, evolution and the roles that each has on the human body.
- Develop an overview of the molecular mechanisms in a cell.
These are divided into two:
1) Achieve Test Prep
With this, you get a bachelor’s degree in only half the time you would have attended classes. You get also free access to books and other equipment that is needed throughout the course.
2) Global Learn
This program is to enable a student to get the required knowledge in order to get a bachelor’s degree from a recognized college.
During hands-on training to become an LPN, the lessons are often conducted out in a simulation laboratory, practice laboratory or even in their educational program’s clinical rotations. The training usually takes a couple weeks and is usually supervised by a fellow LPN or a registered nurse. LPNs carry out a lot of functions while at the hospital.
Below are a number of functions of LPNs:
- Collection of blood, urine or saliva samples from the patients.
- Administer CPR.
- Bath and feed the patients.
- Dressing and changing patients in critical conditions.
- Interviewing patients and recording medical history and current situation to access the progress.
- Observing patients.
- Inserting of catheters.
- Preparing and giving injections.
Apart from these functions, the LPN is also allowed to give the patients certain drugs and medications. They also have the privilege of assigning work to the assistant nurses who work under them. But the LPNs are not authorized to give restricted medicines or intravenous narcotics. Basically, the work of an LPN is to care for the external needs of the patients and ensure that they are always comfortable.
The responsibilities of RN are greater and a little more complex as compared to those of LPN. They also vary depending on the area of expertise. They include:
- They observe and record the patient’s physical and psychological disorder.
- They direct and supervise LPNs and CNAs assigned to them.
- They are responsible for stock control and maintain the inventory level.
- They attend to medical emergencies.
- They provide guidelines and advise on health maintenance and self-care.
- They research and perform lab work following the physician’s instructions and give detailed information about the patient’s condition.
The job outlook for the Registered Nurses is very strong. According to research done, the number of jobs that are available keep on increasing by over 500,000. This is an increase of approximately 19%, which is a higher rate than all the other average jobs. The need for high-quality nurses tends to increase because of the high number of babies being given birth to. The LPN to RN bridge program is a common choice because they concentrate more on knowledge that has already been obtained through working as an LPN.
There is no other way to get a better experience. The best way is to move up the ladder one step at a time until you get to be better. Most LPN to RN programs provide credit for LPN working experience or education. This can be awarded freely or the program will give LPNs a chance to test out of certain classes.
This simply means that if the student scores very highly in one of the subjects examined, the credit is awarded without the need to take a class. But often it varies from one LPN to RN bridge program to another. Ensure that you first research this well to know the educational requirements that are needed. The programs also typically accept transfer credits from other colleges.
Since both are medical practitioners they work in the same kind of places though the specific job descriptions vary. They work in:
- Labor and delivery rooms
- Emergency rooms and theatre
- Pediatric wards
- Rehabilitation centres
- Mental health institutions
- Places with disabled persons
- Group homes
- Private homes
These are just a few of the many places they can work in. LPNs and RNs can work in any institution or medical department.
The salaries for LPNs may vary according to the type of facility that you work for or the state of the country in which you reside. The average annual salary for a LPN is approximately 34,000 dollars. This is especially for all the Licensed Practical Nurses who work in the U.S. But generally the salary often ranges from 32,000 dollars to 40,000 dollars.
There is also a median hourly rate that is awarded depending on your years of experience. That is if you have a 1-year experience you get $15.95 per hour, between 1 to 4 years you get $17.25, for 5 to 9 years you get $19.76 and finally for 10 years’ experience you get $19.85. Therefore, the more the years of experience, the higher the median rate per hour.
The median yearly pay for RN is approximately $65,470. But often the RN salary varies and can be a figure between 40,000 dollars to over 100,000 depending on the education level, the place of employment, the state in which the person works and the previous experience that the person might have.
The potential of an RN is high, in the USA, for example, according to the research carried out by the US Department of Labour in 2014; the median annual salary of an RN is almost$25,000 more than that of an LPN.
A good number of students like the idea of becoming an RN. But most of the time they are not really sure is it is worth their time, money, and effort. Well, here are a number of tangible reasons why you should transfer from LPN to RN.
- They have higher earning potential
The RNs earn much higher salary than the LPNs. Their salaries cannot be compared to their counterparts because they have other added gains that they get apart from the median salary. They simply earn double of what LPNs earn.
- RNs have various options for specialization
There are very many job opportunities for the registered nurses because they do not have to work under supervision like the LPNs. They also have a lot of room for specialization and can tailor their jobs to many others because they have the required skills.
- Professional growth and advancement in nursing
RN opens opportunities for you to grow professionally as the tasks and responsibilities are higher and allow you to specialize.
- Job Assurance
RN has a greater job security compared to LPN. They have very high qualifications and would never fall unemployed. Moreover, an RN resume is highly attractive as compared to an LPN resume which places them at a vantage point when searching for the many jobs available in this sector.
A resume is a brief document that contains a summary of one’s education, employment history and all relevant qualifications and skills related to a particular job on which a person is applying. It’s putting ones whole information on paper. LPNs and RNs are professionals hence it’s expected that their resume be professionally written and presented. Therefore, an LPN/RN has to ensure that his/her resume is perfectly written. Here is how to go about it:
Every resume has a minimum of four parts. This is the least number of parts an LPN/RN’s resume should also have. The components include:
1) Contact Information
This is the first section that should be there on a resume. Some of the details to include here: name, phone number (both personal and landline if available), address, email address. In case you have a website, it’s advisable to include it too. Social media contacts and names shouldn’t be included as you need to relate with your employers professionally and not at a personal level.
Here you tell the employer who you are and what you are looking for. Ensure you relate your interest to the job position and organization you are applying to. Talk about what your goal is and let it be in relation to the facility you are interested in. It’s also important to include a few sentences on your future career and future education intentions to show the employer that you are aiming at growing and getting better. This also shows that you would want to add more to the skills you have and this is beneficial to the organization in question.
3) Education Credentials
Education is key in landing that job. Write in details the various courses undertaken and in which schools. Also include the years attended in this schools.
This is also another important factor that employers look at. Clearly outline the previous places you have worked at. Talk in details about the roles held and explain what responsibilities you had and what duties performed. Highlight the duties and positions that are related and useful to the position you are applying for.
This part is usually trick for fresh newly graduated LPNs as they might have not had as much experience. Try to find any qualities learnt from other jobs done even if they are not medically related. Write this jobs and carefully highlight the skills learnt in them that would come handy in the position you are applying for and the organization as a whole.
Experience is always a great way of convincing the employer that you actually do your art and are highly experienced in it.
5) Other Optional Sections
There are other sections which may be included but are not compulsory. They are also good selling points therefore, if you have any of them it’s advisable you include them. These are:
Languages spoken — include the various languages you are conversant with.
Honors and Awards — might be from the previous work place, college or even the community.
Volunteer Experiences — all places and areas you have volunteered and details of what your work entailed.
Certifications-Professional Memberships-Medical clubs, groups or associations you are a member of. You can also include those that are not medical but related to medicine.
Let’s summarize the differences between LPNs and RNs.
As previously seen the major differences between Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses are in relation to:
1) Education time period
2) Responsibilities held
3) Amount of income/salary amount
4) Job availability
The world of nursing is moving from LPN to RN, there are more than enough institutions offering RN courses: bridging programs, online courses, college and university courses and summer courses. This is a good trend towards better healthcare attention as both patients and the general public is guaranteed top healthcare services. For nurses, it is a great chance to advance and grow professionally, which makes it pretty much a win-win situation.
While there might be a difference between the Registered Nurses and the Licensed Practical Nurses in terms of responsibilities, income and years of education, both posts are highly important and complement each other. Both nurses are needed for the apt running of health facilities.
Having known the difference between the LPN and RN, students can now make a proper decision on which one to pursue or whether to be a Licensed Practical Nurse first then proceed to being a Registered Nurse.
It would be a smart move for the students who are already Licensed Practical Nurses to advance their studies and experience to join the Registered Nurses, considering the wealth of benefits present in doing so.