Understand The Differences Between Registered Nurse Vs. Licensed Practical Nurse

Understand The Differences Between Registered Nurse Vs. Licensed Practical Nurse
Understand The Differences Between Registered Nurse Vs. Licensed Practical Nurse

At the entry-level, you can choose to be a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN).  People say RNs can be paid 1.5 times the standard salary of LPNs. If you are not sure which one would be the right career path for you, this post is for you. We are going to discuss the differences between RN vs licensed practical nurses.

What’s the difference between LPN and RN?

Though the job titles sound a little bit common, if you look deeper into the job duties, educational requirements, and salary, you will see the differences between the two jobs. The comparisons below will help you figure it out.

The differences in job duties

Registered nurses offer direct care to patients, while licensed practical nurses assist doctors and registered nurses. RNs have a greater scope of practice and must complete significantly more coursework to obtain licensure. In most cases, RNs can operate autonomously. LPNs, on the other hand, must work under the supervision of a physician or an RN. LPNs normally give more basic nursing care and are in charge of the patient’s comfort.

The differences in job duties
The differences in job duties

As RNs can provide a greater level of patient care, they frequently provide 1:1 (one nurse to one patient) or even 2:1 care in extreme cases (2 nurses to one patient). RNs in medical-surgical specialties commonly have 3-5 patients at a time. On the other hand, LPNs have higher patient loads during a single shift since they care for patients with lower acuity. They often have as many as a dozen or more at a single shift. In fact, during shifts in eldercare centers, some LPNs have to take care of up to 30 people.

The differences in the educational paths

If you want to become a registered nurse, there are three options for you to choose from:

– A bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). BSN programs typically take four years to finish

– An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).

– A diploma from an accredited nursing program. ADN and diploma programs often take two to three years to complete.

All degrees contain social, behavioral, and physical science coursework, as well as clinical encounters in a variety of settings. After graduation, a nursing license is required for all registered nurses.

The differences in the educational paths
The differences in the educational paths

If you want to become an LPN, you might complete your education at a nursing school or a junior college. Programs typically last for one year only and include both classroom and clinical hours.

The differences in licensing/certification

Registered nurses have to sit for an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to get licensed.

LPNs have to get a practical nursing certification after finishing the practical nursing course from a state-approved program. After that, they must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) in order to receive a license and work as an LPN.

The differences in salary ranges

According to Indeed, the licensed practical nurse’s salary in the United States is $54,799 per year or $30.53 per hour on average. Meanwhile, the registered nurse’s salary is $88,809 per year or $41.61, much higher than the licensed practical nurse’s salary. The mentioned differences above are the explanation why registered nurses can get higher pay than LPNs do.

A transition from LPNs to RNs

For some reason, people might choose to become an LPN first and then get further education to become RN. This is completely possible. In order to advance from LPN to RN, LPNs must finish an accredited registered nurse program and pass the NCLEX-RN, the national exam for RN licensing. However, because of their experience, LPNs are required to take an extra RN program in some cases.

Conclusion

We know that becoming a registered nurse can be better as they are able to handle more duties and have higher salaries. However, it takes longer to become an RN and the tuition fee is high, some can’t afford to follow this career path at first. Therefore, many choose to become an LPN first, earn money, then get on extra education to become an RN. Hope you can choose the right path for you after this post.