Are you interested to join an entry-level nursing program but cannot decide between Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Registered Nurse (RN)? It becomes crucial to compare LPN vs RN so you can choose a program that would fit you.
Licensed practical nurse and registered nurse sound similar. But when you compare both types of nurse in several aspects like education, careers, and job tasks, you will see they have great differences. Keep scrolling through the page to find more about the difference between LPN and RN.
What is a Licensed Practical Nurse?
Licensed practical nurses are a medical professional who manages basic care such as checking blood pressure, reporting patient status, and even helping patients eat. They have the qualifications to handle basic tasks to maintain the comfort of patients while staying at the hospitals.
To become a licensed practical nurse, you must complete a 1-year training program and take the NCLEX test at the end of the program. Once they pass the test, these nurses will receive their license and are authorized to work in healthcare facilities.
Registered nurses are a licensed and certified medical professionals who are responsible for providing hands-on care in a variety of medical settings such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities. They perform a wide range of duties with doctors and other medical professionals.
RNs are considered the backbone of the healthcare system in the U.S. Just as with licensed practical nurses, RNs see patients every day. But they have a wider range of tasks such as care management, safety and infection control, and therapy.
LPN vs RN Head to Head Comparison
Even though LPN and RN have similarities, these types of nurse come with a number of differences. What is the difference between an RN and LPN? To help distinguish between LPN and RN, you can compare some aspects like education, responsibilities, work settings, and more.
⦁ Education Requirements
Prior to practicing, LPNs and RNs must complete approved nursing program. While LPN can be achieved by completing a one-year training program, RN must attend at least a two-year training program through an associate degree or a four-year program through a bachelor’s degree.
Upon the completion of nursing program, practical nurses must take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam in order to obtain the license. On the other hand, registered nurse are required to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to get the license just like the PHN nurse.
Some duties of LPNs and RNs are similar but their responsibilities differ. Registered nurses have more responsibilities than licensed practical nurses in most healthcare facilities and hospitals.
LPNs play an important role to support and assist RNs, which means LPNs work under the management of physicians and RNs. They perform basic nursing care like checking blood pressure, feeding and bathing patients, giving medications, and reporting patient status.
The responsibilities of licensed registered nurses vary depending on their specialty area and type of facility. But in general, RNs are responsible to make assess patients based on exams, administering medicine, setting up care plans, and collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals.
⦁ Work Settings
Another aspect to compare LPN vs RN is work settings. Both LPNs and RNs undergo an increased demand in recent years. Currently the U.S. healthcare industries employ about 728,900 LPNs and 3.1 million RNs.
When it comes to work settings, a large number of LPNs work in residential care facilities that provide care for elder people. Many of them also work in local hospitals, doctor’s offices, home care services, and even government agencies.
RNs mostly work in hospitals, but few numbers of them also work in nursing care facilities, ambulatory healthcare services, educational services, and other settings.
The difference between RN and LPN is also found in salary. Since licensed practical nurses have less responsibilities, they earn less than registered nurses. According to the BLS, LPNs can earn $47,480 annually while RNs can make $73,300.
Salary can vary depending on years of experience and work settings. For instance, nursing care facilities pay the most wage for LPNs and government agencies are the highest paying work settings for RNs.
To sum up, both licensed practical nurses and registered nurses are essential in the U.S. healthcare system. Even though they have different responsibilities, they work in a team to care for patients. Now that you know the difference between LPN vs RN, you can decide which type of nurse will suit you.