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What LPN’s Can Expect When Transitioning into a Career as an RN

Posted On Apr 24, 2020

Medical student looking at paperwork on a clipboard.

For many licensed practical nurses (LPNs), taking the next step toward advancing their career means transitioning into the role of a registered nurse (RN).

Although both an LPN and RN are pretty well familiarized with the ins and outs of patient care, there are some definite differences between the two nursing job titles.

 While the transition from LPN to RN is supposed to be a happy and exciting time, it may also bring about some feelings of uneasiness, as you wonder what to expect once you begin your new role as an RN. It helps to prepare yourself by learning as much as you can about the differences between these two nursing careers, so you can feel confident that you’re taking a step in the right direction.

Here are a few things a licensed practical nurse can expect when transitioning from an LPN to RN:

Change in Work Setting

RN’s typically work in settings like hospitals, outpatient facilities, medical offices, and home care. This may come as a big change for an LPN, as they are most commonly employed in long term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice.

Hospitals are the most commonly sought-after facilities for an RN, especially since many offer new graduate training programs available for those who wish to work in specific units, such as intensive care, emergency rooms, surgery, and rehabilitation.

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Taking on a More Supervisory Role

Another change for a recent LPN to RN grad working in a long-term care facility is that they typically advance to a supervisory role. Their day consists of monitoring LPNs and nurses’ aides, hanging IV medications, changing central line dressings or maintaining ports, and ensuring that the appropriate levels of staffing are being met.

Earning Higher Pay

Since an RN can perform a broader scope of tasks, as well as take on more job responsibilities, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that an RN earns a higher income than an LPN. The ability to earn a bigger salary is often a large motivating factor for those wishing to move up from an LPN to an RN.

Ability to Provide More Care to Patients

While LPNs also provide a high level of care to their patients, they are much more limited by the job duties they are allowed to perform. Advancement opportunities are also much more limited to an LPN. As an RN, you will be expected to not only perform a much higher level of care, but you can expect to take on more responsibilities as well.

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Demands for LPNs and RNs

Another somewhat subtle change you might not have expected while transitioning from an LPN to an RN is that the demand and job outlook for nurses is much higher at the RN level. Nationwide there are more RN’s with active licenses than LPN’s and although both nursing fields continue to grow, the registered nursing field continues to grow at a faster rate, making an RN slightly more secure than an LPN when it comes to comparing the long-term job outlook for nurses.

How Long Does it Take to Bridge From an LPN to an RN?

The LPN to RN program at Athena Career Academy takes one year to complete with day classes, or 16 months if you choose evening classes. Our instructors know what skills you need to be successful. Contact us today for more information about our LPN to RN programs.

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