Caring for a whole man can never be achieved by a single health care professional field. Achieving that required major diversity in healthcare. This will allow achieving set goals through integration. Comparing and contrasting between the different roles of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and the registered professional nurses (RNs) is a touchy issue that needs to be considered critically considering all the functional perspectives of both scope. This paper will focus on those major similarities and differences between the two major scopes of nursing under the following subheadings; education, roles, earnings, and advancement.
It is very important to know that both scopes of nursing differ in their length of training. LPNs have shorter duration with less complex forms of training. However, the RNs have much more complex forms of training with an extended period of time to earn their license. Licensed practical nurses usually have less assessment skills and technical skills when compared to the registered professional nurses. They are similar in that they also possess certain forms of basic training skills in nursing that are critical to those assessment skills needed to be an RN nurse. It is very important to know that being a registered professional nurse is another ball game entirely because you would be required to think is certain creative ways and allowed to do certain advanced tasks that LPNs are excluded from.
The legal definitions for the roles of RNs define their roles within the scope of “diagnosing and treating human response to actual or potential health problems by using methods such as case finding, health teaching, health counselling, supportive or restorative care, and executing prescribed regimens”(Zittel 2).
Legal definition of LNs focus on “performing tasks and functions within the framework of case finding, health teaching, health counselling, and provision of supportive and restorative care under the direction of a registered professional nurse or other licensed physician, dentist or health care giver” (Zittel 2).
Considering the above guidelines and definitions, it simply shows that LPNs can perform some of the functions of the RNs once is under the direction of the RNs or physicians. It also shows that regarding to medical regimen execution; LPNs are not licensed to execute the prescribed regimen. Another major important aspect of this scope of nursing is that their function can’t be interchanged. It is also very important to note that the LPNs are not allowed to collect and interpret a patient’s data and then subsequently act on the result of the data. The implication of this is that they can’t just create or interfere with any nursing care goals that has been establish previously hence incapacitating them in their functions.
Since there are several tasks that the RNs are entitled to perform and LPNs are exempted from, RNs tend to delegate menial tasks which makes it looks as if the LPNs are their slaves. However, RNs are trained to delegate task and manage the patient effectively, so there is nothing similar to that perception (Spector, 8). RNs are meant to take complete responsibility and accountability for any patient they are managing hence when there are errors; they are in charge of the legal consequences. LPNs are not meant to take such kind of responsibility because of their less training.
RNs always earn more and they also have the opportunity of going into other specialities which will allow them to earn more. Those specialities include the nurse-anaesthetist. These could be associated with their additional responsibilities. They are better paid in terms of additional monetary compensation when you compared them to the LPNs. Financial compensation is a major factor that influence the decision of some LPNs to actually want to go back to nursing school to earn their RN licensure (www.LPNstoRNs.com)
Most of the health care facilities always use RNs for their leadership positions and this also allow those nurses to earn more. In terms of training, RNs are better trained when compared to the LPNs and tend to take advanced courses that provide them the understanding required to perform their major tasks.
Overall view of the two nursing scope shows that there are not on the same practising level. Registered professional nurses are more in a superior position when compared to Licensed practical nurses. This is in terms of their educational background, roles they perform and earnings. However, it is very important to know that nursing tasks can only be fully achieved when each are available to play its roles.
Lpn-to-rn”. 23 August, 2011. Salary and benefit differences between lpns and RNs.
“Spector, Nancy” August 2005. Practical Nurse Scope of Practice White Paper. NCSBN. 23 August 2011.
“”Zittel, Barbara” September 2005. The Scope of Practice of Licensed Practical Nurses. The State Education Department, University of the state of New York. 23 August, 2011.