LPN (licensed practical nurse) is the same as LVN (licensed vocational nurse) are the positions that hold different names, but the job duties are exactly the same. These 2 terminologies vary as we go to different regions across the country. Towards South, the term is LVN; while towards North, it is licensed practical nurse. It is an intermediate step between CNA and RN, in the career of nursing assistants. As the name suggests, licensed practical nurses have lesser responsibilities than RNs, but they do have more responsibilities than certified nursing assistants. This is because of the level of educational qualification and practiced skills. For getting to the desired level of education and skills, the students or more specifically; certified nurse assistants need to enroll in the programs which prepare them to become licensed practical nurse . CNA to LPN programs enable qualified certified nursing aide to get more knowledge of nursing and to implement it practically while performing the respective job. The professional certified nursing assistants thus reach the next step of their career and thus, start getting paid higher immediately. In short, CNA to LPN programs facilitate transition of certified nursing aide to licensed practical nurse.
CNA to LPN programs can be attended offline or online. Many schools, vocational schools, community colleges, nursing and medical facilities offer these programs. The syllable set for both types of programs is similar and the required course material can be easily obtained online. The training program lasts for almost 3-4 months after which the students have to pass an exam. The exam is regulated by the NCLEX board and one has to pass it successfully so as to get the licensed practical nurse certification / license at the earliest. This particular program is self paced and thus, the success mainly depends upon the hard work as well as sincerity of the students. The next step of this course is a licensed vocational nurse to registered nurse program, but those who have become licensed practical nurse can also work as professional licensed practical nurse , as soon as they finish the program and get the certificate / licensure. If one goes for direct licensed practical nurse program without any prior nursing knowledge after high school, then for such students; the LPN / LVN programs last for about 2 years. Basics are also covered very well in case of such students.
For enrolling in the CNA to LPN courses, students are expected to be qualified and experienced certified nursing assistants. A proof of background check and a negative drug test are also among the requirements. Some states have an entrance exam for getting admission to CNA to LPN programs, while some mandate to have completed certain prerequisite courses before this particular program. However, the requirements for getting qualified for CNA to LPN programs differ from state to state. Thus, the students willing to apply for the course programs must check out the requirements by the respective state authority. The length of the program may vary as per the state’s requirements.
Topics Covered during Transition from Certified Nursing Assistant to Licensed Practical Nurse
This training is a series of theory and practical courses that includes topics like anatomy, physiology, psychology, computer education and interpersonal communication. Some of the skills teach the students higher aspects of nursing:
- Patient treatment
- Spotting the illness
- Basics of diagnosis
- Effective communication before, during and after treatment
- Understanding psychology of patients
- Administration and management
- Report compiling on computer and basics of statistics
The students are given a lot of practical training during this program. As they are already experienced and skilled as certified nursing assistants, they apply their own skills and the newly acquired knowledge while completing the course.
Licensed vocational nurses traditionally work at hospitals, convalescent homes, long term care facilities, doctor’s offices and surgical centers. They are desired to work under the supervision of doctors and RNs. A licensed practical nurse serves the roll of a middle manager. Being a self starter, they often have an added independence from the respective RN while working. Generally, the tasks performed by these them are administering patients’ medication, preparing procedural rooms, setting up IVs, bathing patients, cleaning of their body, etc. Other jobs of licensed practical nurses are full body assessment and monitoring the health of patients. They also have right to supervise certified nursing assistants (CNAs) as well as certified medical assistants (CMAs). They can undertake almost all tasks of RNs like recording medical history, giving injections, performing CPR in emergency cases, etc.
However, a licensed practical nurse gets more salary than the certified nurse assistants counterpart due to higher level of responsibility. Although they can perform tasks of RNs, they are less experienced and qualified than RNs and thus, are paid lesser than RNs. They are not given authorities or responsibilities as RNs.
After accomplishing the certified nursing assistant to licensed practical nurse program, the students get their licensed practical nurse license. This license has to be maintained by continuing education. If one is not doing so, then one must continue the active work as a licensed practical nurse in order to sustain the license.
There is high demand of registered nurses (RNs) in nursing field rather than licensed vocational nurses and certified nursing aides. This is because they require a supervising entity which is nothing but a RN. Hence, hiring licensed practical nurse automatically requires hiring RNs too. Rather than paying both RNs and licensed vocational nurses, hospitals directly prefer to hire RNs. Hence, positions of LPNs / LVNs are to be phased out in some regions of the country.