Whenever you choose nursing as your career, you should also decide what type of nurse you want to work as! You should analyze every possibility and option for your career’s future.
You might be confused about the difference between a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) and a registered nurse (RN).
You are at the right place now, you will find all your answers here and understand the difference between the two nursing programs.
LVN vs RN
Both RN and LVN are considered as very reputable nursing types. In some states, LVN is also considered as licensed practical nurses (LPN). RN and LVN have a major role in inpatient treatment and recovery.
I have differentiated both of the nursing programs on different levels. After reading this article you can easily differentiate between the two and decide which nursing program suits your lifestyle better!
Let’s directly take a look at the difference between these two!
The main difference between a licensed vocational nurse and a registered nurse is the level of education needed.
To become an RN, you are required to complete a formal nursing program, while in contrast, to become an LVN you require a less formal nursing education program.
You can become a vocational nurse within a year easily, you just need to get enrolled in a vocational college or a community college for a vocational nursing program.
Obstetrics, first aid, nutrition, anatomy, nursing, and physiology are some of the many courses taught in vocational nursing programs.
The vocational nursing students also have to take labs and clinics along with theory classes to get in-hand skills and gain clinical experience to learn patient handling.
It is an accredited nursing program and if you are considering LVN/LPN as your career then you can choose one of the following two paths to becoming a vocational nurse
- Get a diploma in practical nursing
- Get a certificate in practical nursing
After completing the vocational nursing program, one should obtain their nursing license by clearing the exams conducted by the National Council of licensure.
While, on the other hand, the nursing programs to become a registered nurse can take at least 2 or 4 years of education to complete.
In such programs, a student is encouraged to take part in clinical experience to deal with patients and work on their in-hand skills. Physiology, chemistry, nursing, anatomy, and microbiology are the main courses taught in this program.
One can become a registered nurse by choosing any one of the below educational options:
- An associate of applied science in registered nursing (ASN) degree
- A diploma from the nursing program
- A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program
You can opt for any option that suits you best!
Whether you choose to become an LVN or RN in your career, you must possess a license in your specific field to be able to work as a nurse in any working environment.
An LVN has to clear the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to obtain their license.
On the other hand, an RN has to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain their license and start working.
Because RN has a greater education and training period of 2-4 years, they have more responsibility for patient care and they have a wider scope and area of practice than LVN/LPN.
Function And Responsibilities
RNs and LPNs have somewhat similar job responsibilities in patient care.
An RN is responsible to make any critical and serious decisions for a patient’s life and patient care without any guidance or instructions from the heads.
RNs work independently in many areas and they are generally responsible for critical thinking and decision making in emergency conditions to make the patient stable until a doctor arrives to give appropriate medical treatment to the patient.
The duties or responsibilities of an RN at a hospital includes:
- Administer medications to patients through oral route, intravenous route, subcutaneous route, intramuscular route, and many other different routes for medication administration
- Supervise and guide LVNs and other junior nurses
- Consult with doctors and mid-level practitioners on a regular basis to inform them regarding the patient’s condition, health, and improvements.
- Conduct diagnostic tests on patient
- Make patient’s care plans and treatment plans
- Analyze the vital signs reported by the LVNs and co-relate them with the patient’s condition
While, on the other hand, an LVN/LPN has to perform fundamental responsibilities of patient care, they are never allowed to make decisions for patient’s treatment and care without any guidance from a doctor or a registered nurse.
They are responsible for keeping in check the symptoms of a patient and assisting in wound care or patient care.
The duties or responsibilities of an LPN/LVN at a hospital includes:
- Take patient’s history and make them feel comfortable
- Vital sign monitoring of a patient, which includes blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen saturation, weight, temperature, and respiration rate monitoring of the patient.
- Assisting with catheter insertion.
- Help patient while bathing and clothing
- Take care of patient’s basic necessities
- Help in changing bandages and wound care of patients.
Although there is not much difference between the two when it comes to nursing responsibilities and jobs, the work environment of nurses can vary depending on the type of nurse you are.
You should choose to become an RN if you want to work as a hospital nurse and enjoy patient interaction in a hospital environment.
An RN can work at any place of his interest including:
- Doctors offices
- General medical and surgeon hospitals
- Military positions
- Administrative and support services
- Nursing care facilities
- Home health care services
- Educational services
- Correctional facilities
- Summer camps
- Government agencies
If you want to step into your professional life and start your career as a nurse quickly, then you should definitely opt to become an LPN/LVN.
You can do so by quickly completing your education within a year and start working at any of the following places:
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Correctional facilities
- Blood banks
- Dialysis centers
- Psychiatric hospitals
- Offices of doctors
No matter what you choose between the two of LVN or RN as your career, just make sure you love what you are doing in your career because you might need to do it for the rest of your life.
So, take your time, explore your options and choose wisely because you are making a life decision.