What’s the Difference Between an LVN and an LPN?
There are a variety of nursing titles available based on your education and the type of certification you receive. Two that you may be considering are “licensed vocational nurse,” or LVN, and “licensed practical nurse,” or LPN. Both are quick ways to enter the field of nursing but what is the difference between the two?
The short answer: There is no difference! In actuality, you need exactly the same educational training and certification to be an LVN as you do to be an LPN. The title you receive is simply determined by the state in which you live and work. LVN is the title given to this level of nurse in two states â€“ California and Texas. All other states in the United States are given the title of LPN.
As an LVN or LPN you need to go through a training program, which typically lasts about a year and can be taken online. There is a fairly high turnover rate in this field because with your LVN or LPN certification, you can enter an associate’s degree program to become a registered nurse, or RN. From there, you can get your bachelor’s degree, or even go on to get a master’s degree in order to become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, or certified nurse anesthetist. All of these career paths are possible, regardless of whether you start as an LVN or as an LPN.
In your LVN/LPN role, you’ll be responsible for basic patient care. Some of the tasks you may do on a daily basis include checking vital signs, monitoring patients, assisting with feeding and personal hygiene, preparing patients for surgery, collecting samples for laboratory tests, cleaning rooms and equipment, preparing injections, gathering family history, and recording other patient information. LVNs or LPNs in a healthcare facility can’t diagnose patients or treat most medical conditions, but they are responsible for ensuring that the patient sees a nurse or doctor as soon possible. In some states, you may also start intravenous fluids or administer prescription medications to patients if you’re an LVN or LPN.
No matter where you work, in order to work in this field, you need to take a licensing example, which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. State requirements vary, so if you move, you may have to retake the exam. However, many nurses who at certified in one state can easily transfer their certification to another. This is especially true if you’re an LVN working in California and want to move to Texas (or vice-versa).
As an LVN/LPN, your starting salary won’t be as high as is possible with other nursing degrees, but since it only takes a year of training to work in this field, many students opt to start their careers at this level of nursing. You can later go on to enter RN, BSN, or MSN programs, even getting your degree online as you continue to work as a nurse.
Online LVN to BSN Degree Programs
For those looking to make the jump from being a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to registered nurse (RN), the LVN to BSN degree is the perfect choice. Below are several accredited online colleges that offer nursing degree programs, ideal for any LVN/LPN looking to advance their careers and earn higher salaries.
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