Careers in the healthcare field are a popular choice, as they offer the ability to make a difference in people’s lives, and have an excellent outlook when it comes to career stability. Most nursing students become either a Licensed Professional Nurse (LPN), or a Registered Nurse (RN). While you may think that all nursing jobs are created equal, there are some dramatic differences between the two:
In order to become an LPN, one must possess a high school diploma or GED, and then attend a one-year program at a technical, vocational, or community college. Becoming an RN requires a bit more schooling and training. An RN must obtain an associates degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
An LPN can only provide direct patient care under the authorization of an RN or a doctor. The job duties of an LPN are more basic than those of an RN, which require a higher level of skills and complexity.
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Assisting patients with bathing, dressing, and eating
- Changing wound dressings
- Collecting blood and urine specimens
- Caring for patients with ventilators, tracheotomy, and gastrostomy tubes
- Inserting urinary catheters
- Monitoring patients and reporting status changes to an RN
- Performing assessments and taking vital signs on incoming patients
- Administering and monitoring patient medications
- Wound care
- Insertion and management of various types of catheters
- Keeping detailed documentation of symptoms and conditions
- Performing Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support
- Teaching patients how to manage or care for their injuries or illnesses
- Admitting and discharging patients safely
- Supervising LPN’s
Another difference between an LPN and an RN is the type of work setting they are often employed in. An RN working at a hospital often has multiple departments they can rotate or choose between, including the ER, ICU, Medical-Surgical Centers, Cancer Centers, Psychiatric facilities, and Labor and Delivery. Many RN’s also work in outpatient clinics, such as schools, doctor’s offices, specialist’s, and nursing homes.
For an LPN, they are most commonly employed in places caring for the elderly, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Occasionally they may find work at rehabilitation and treatment centers, as well as working for mentally disabled patients and hospice care.
4 Reasons Why an LPN Should Eventually Become an RN:
As an RN, you will have a much higher earning capacity than as an LPN, especially if you decide to move up the ranks to become a supervisor. More education results in higher pay.
Increase in job Opportunities
Graduating from an RN program, or bridging from an LPN-RN program, will open the door to numerous job opportunities and possibilities. Along with there being more available RN jobs to choose from. You aren’t as limited as an RN.
The more education and training you acquire, the more your colleagues, peers, and patients will look up to and admire you as a role model and skilled expert in your field. Going that extra step to become an RN will earn you more respect and recognition.
Opportunity for Supervisory Roles
As an LPN, you will always be under close supervision of an RN, but if you’ve ever dreamed of being in charge, or having more flexibility and freedom, then furthering your career to become an RN is a wise investment for your future. Athena offers a great bridge program for LPNs to become RNs. Contact us today to enroll!