Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers you can pursue today. On a daily basis, nurses work hard to make a difference in patients’ lives, helping them to get better, stay healthy, and sustain a high quality of life. If you are compassionate, quick-thinking, and wish to help others in need, the nursing field may be for you. The question is, which nursing career path should you pursue?
What many don’t know about the nursing field is that there are all types of nurses out there today. There are Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and nurses of all different specialties and job titles. To help you understand two of the most common nursing careers, Goodwin breaks down the differences between an RN and LPN below.
What is What?
What is an LPN? An LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurse, is a licensed professional who can provide basic care to patients, under the supervision of a Doctor or Registered Nurse. LPNs work with patients who are relatively stable, ensuring they are comfortable, taking vital signs, checking blood pressure, monitoring their overall health. The duties of an LPN are very practical, as the name implies. LPNs are responsible for observing patients and reporting any changes in condition to the supervising RN.
What is an RN? A Registered Nurse (RN) is the most common type of nurse you will find in the healthcare field. These nursing professionals main responsibility is to provide and coordinate patient care: evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and following up with patients in need. RNs have a more expanded scope of practice than LPNs, in that they can perform diagnostic tests, administer medications, and educate patients on how to manage their health after treatment. RNs also oversee LPNs, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and home health aides.
Where Do LPNs and RNs Work?
Licensed Practical Nurses usually work in long-term care settings where patients are generally stable, such as nursing homes and other residential care facilities. However, some LPNs work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and for home healthcare agencies.
The majority of Registered Nurses (over 60 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) work in hospitals. However, RNs can also be found working in schools, private clinics, ambulatory settings, and residential care facilities.
LPN vs. RN Requirements
Becoming an LPN is one of the fastest ways to get into the nursing field. LPNs must complete an accredited practical nursing program, which takes about one year. Upon graduation, they can go on to take the NCLEX-PN examination, which will grant them licensure as an LPN.
Due to their wider scope of practice, Registered Nurses must complete a nursing degree from a state-approved college. However, RNs have options: they can pursue an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), depending on their readiness to commit to nursing school. While an ADN is the standard expectation for Registered Nurses, many choose to earn a BSN degree due for advanced job opportunities and earning potential in the field. To become licensed, Registered Nurses must also pass the national board exam, the NCLEX-RN, and complete any state-specific requirements.
Goodwin College is an accredited nursing school in Connecticut, offering Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs in Nursing. To learn more about the nursing career paths available to you, call 800-889-3282 today.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.