LPN vs RN: What’s the Difference?

LPN vs RN: What's the Difference?

Choosing to work in healthcare is a noble and practical career path. You get to dedicate your life to helping people in need and develop skill sets that will always be in high demand. However, if you’re interested in nursing, you may be wondering about the differences between becoming a registered nurse (RN) and a licensed practical nurse (LPN). What are the educational requirements for each of them? And, what are the main differences once you start working?

What are the differences between an RN and an LPN?

While both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses provide healthcare services, becoming an RN has a longer list of educational requirements. Because they have more comprehensive training, LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses.

Requirements to Become a Registered Nurse

To become an RN, you need an associate degree in nursing (ADN) — which can be completed within two years — or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) — which typically takes four years to complete. While you’ll end up with the same title once you finish your studies, obtaining a BSN can help you secure a job with more responsibilities and a higher salary. That said, regardless of which route you decide to take, once you graduate, you’ll have to take the NCLEX-RN examination administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Registered nurses also have to meet licensing requirements as required by their state’s board of nursing.

If you already have a Bachelor’s Degree and would like to pursue nursing, you can enroll in an accelerated BSN program. This will allow you to apply some of your credits to your nursing degree.

Work Duties of a Registered Nurse

Once you have become an RN, you can administer hands-on care to patients in a wide array of settings — such as hospitals, emergency rooms, operating rooms, nursing homes, doctor offices, urgent care, medical flights, military sites, and home health care. The specific duties will vary depending on the setting, and may include:

  • Medication administration per physician orders
  • Dressing changes
  • Feeding tubes
  • Inserting and irrigating NG tubes and Foley catheters
  • Wound care
  • Ventilation and tracheostomy care and suctioning endotracheally
  • Patient education
  • One-on-one nursing care in a home environment
  • Taking the patients’ vital signs
  • Creating treatment plans

Requirements to Become an LPN

Since becoming a licensed practical nurse takes less time than becoming a registered nurse, it is one of the most popular types of nursing. LPNs can also secure jobs in the same environments registered nurses do — such as hospitals and home healthcare.

In order to become an LPN, you have to apply to an accredited practical nursing program at either a community college or technical school. Regardless of where you conduct your studies, you’ll be required to take courses in nursing as well as complete a year-long supervised clinical experience. Once you graduate, you have to register for the NCLEX-PN examination.

Work Duties of an LPN

Some of the work duties of an LPN may overlap those of a registered nurse, although they will be fewer and under the direct supervision of another healthcare professional. These include:

  • Medication administration per physician orders
  • Dressing changes
  • Feeding tubes
  • Inserting and irrigating NG tubes and Foley catheters
  • Wound care
  • Ventilation and tracheostomy care and suctioning endotracheally
  • Patient education
  • One-on-one nursing in a home care environment

Both positions require you to be empathetic, remain calm under stress, and to think quickly on your feet. At the end of the day, when a patient is undergoing an emergency, they look to you for guidance and assurances that things are taken care of.

Careers at Sonas

At Sonas Home Health, you can choose to work with adult or pediatric patients — and work as part of a team. We also strive to make the experience as positive as possible by matching our caregivers with clients’ specific needs and personalities. In addition, we offer employee benefits that are based on certain measurement periods, and are available to eligible/qualifying employees. They are provided to assist in the management of your health and the health of your family. These include:

  • Paid time off (PTO)
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • 401K retirement plan with company match
  • Nurse Referral Bonus
  • Weekly pay
  • 24/7 on-call support
  • Flexible schedule
  • CEU credits
  • Available shifts in 48 counties

If You’re Looking for A Career as an RN or LPN, Contact Sonas for Home Health Care

If you’re a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse licensed in the state of Florida, and you’re looking for career opportunities in a home health care setting, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our jobs page or contact us at (888) 592-5855 for more information.

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