Someone considering a career in nursing must know about the options they have. Two of the most common nursing roles are registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. There is a difference between an RN and LPN in terms of their education, licensure, training, duties, and job aspects. It is significant to understand the distinction before choosing the right nursing career for you. Read this article if you are researching the difference between a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse.
Difference Between An RN And LPNThe RN vs. LPN scope is different in their job tasks, education and training, and career advancement. Let’s find out about them!
The most significant difference between a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse is their education and training. A registered nurse has a degree from an accredited nursing program. The length of their education program can range from two years an associate’s degree in nursing to four years program for a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN).
To become a licensed practical nurse, you have to complete an approved diploma or certificate program, which may last between 12 to 18 months. It includes courses in biology, nursing, pharmacology, psychology, and clinical hours. These programs are mostly completed at a vocational or community college.
Certification And Licensure
Both RNs and LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) – NCLEX-RN for RNs and NCLEX-PN for LPNs. After passing the examination, they can apply for a state license. Renewal of the licenses is required after every two years.
Both RN and LPN work in collaboration to perform patient care duties in health care setups. However, their roles and duties can be distinct as per state law. Since RN and LPN have different licensure based on their training and education, RN vs. LPN scope of duties also differ.
Registered Nurse (RN) Job DutiesRNs have more responsibilities and patient care duties. They look after patients with a higher level of acuity. Also, RNs can work independently because of the broader scope of their practice. The duties of an RN may include:
· Inserting IVs and drawing blood
· Assessing and operating medical equipment
· Perform physical examination
· Teaching caregivers about the patients' care
· Collaborating with doctors for patient’s care plan
· Supervise LPNs and nursing aides
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Job DutiesLPNs care for patients with a lower acuity level. They work under the supervision of an RN or other medical professionals. The scope of LPNs duties include:
· Monitoring and collecting patients’ vital signs
· Applying or changing bandages or inserting catheters
· Distributing medicines
· Feeding and dressing up the patients
· Assisting with bathing or toilet
· Caring and keeping a record of patient's health
Both RNs and LPNs have opportunities for career growth and advancement by gaining more experience. However, RN vs. LPN scope of career advancement is slightly different because of their training. RNs can move into different areas of the hospitals or healthcare institutions. They also have an option to take up the role of an educator and gain more administrative experience. Further, they can pursue higher studies to advance their career.
Similarly, LPNs also have several opportunities to move into different institutions and alternative healthcare setups, such as physician offices, mental health institutions, or home health care. LPNs can also opt for higher studies and complete their education through LPN to RN bridge program and become registered nurses.
As expected, LPNs will have lower salaries than RNs. That is because of the advanced training and education of the registered nurses. However, LPNs also have a bright salary outlook with respect to their practice and experience. On average, the median salary of a licensed practical nurse is around $ 47,000 - $ 48,000 annually. While the median salary of a registered nurse is almost $ 75,000 to $78,000 annually.
Take AwayThere are many significant aspects to consider before choosing between an RN and LPN. The difference between an RN and LPN defines the career path and goals you are ready to take up. Hopefully, with this article, you get the correct understanding of the RN vs. LPN scope and the difference between a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse.