Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) vs Registered Nurse (RN)

   Many people might not know the exact difference between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Registered Nurse (RN). Although both allow for a fulfilling career in nursing and healthcare, when it comes to aspects like job responsibilities, salary and education, the two are different.


   Before starting on your educational journey towards a career in nursing, it is a good idea to understand the job responsibilities and career goals of both RNs and LPNs. To sum up, LPNs are responsible for providing more basic nursing care and usually work under the supervision of RNs. RNs on the other hand are generally responsible for administering medicine to patients in addition to creating a treatment plan in order to promote and restore a patient's health.


   LPNs differ in many ways from RNs, but their day-to-day duties often consist of similar work. An RN's basic duties are similar to an LPN's, although they receive higher pay, are allowed to perform tests and certain procedures, and are responsible for supervising LPNs.


                                                                   LPN vs RN Education


   A big diference between LPNs and RNs is the education required. LPN programs tend to focus on the "doing" skills while RN programs focus on both "doing" and "thinking" skills. With that in mind, LPN programs can be completed in less time than RN programs and generally cost less. It takes about 12 months to complete an LPN program. The shorter time frame is very appealing to many, as it allows passionate individuals the opportunity to quickly delve into the healthcare workforce. Many complete LPN programs at community or technical colleges. As part of an LPN program, LPN candidates will take part in supervised clinical  training in order to gain hands on experience in the field. In addition to nursing courses, students will also take classes that focus on pharmacology, human anatomy and biology. LPN programs are very much structured around learning how to perform the necessary skills required to take care of patients.


   RN programs on the other hand take anywhere from 18 to 36 months to complete. RNs must earn a professional nursing degree. The exact length of the program depends on the type of RN degree one seeks to obtain. The most common professional degree options for an RN include a BSN (Bachelor of Science inb Nursing), an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) and a diploma from an accredited nursing program. It is important to keep in mind that in most cases, a BSN is preferred over an ADN and diploma programs. BSN programs usually take about four years to complete. ADN and diploma programs can take about two to three years to complete. Although the three routes vary, it is likely that all will focus on various clinical and hands-on training experiences, as well as classes on behavioral, social and physical sciences. RN programs will also include courses on team leadership, legal and ethical issues, as well as research and pharmacology.


   LPNs who wish to further their careers and gain increased responsibility and pay can enroll in bridge programs. These programs allow for faster transition and certification in new nursing roles. Bridge programs include transitions from CNA to LPN, LPN to ADN and LPN to BSN. Several online LPN bridge program options for current LPNs are available.


                                                                      LPN vs RN Salary


   LPNs and RNs will encounter varying salaries depending on their geographic location. Salaries will be affected by a state's cost of living in addition to how in demand LPN and RN jobs are in that area. In the 2016 - 2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average salary for a LPN is about $42,500 and the median salary for a RN is about $66,500.


   RN and LPN salaries vary by area of specialization and years of experience. In most cases, the more years of experience a nurse has, the more he or she will earn. Critical care specialties such as the intensive care unit (ICU), emergency department (ED), labor and delivery (L & D) and the operating room (OR) are highly paid specialties in nursing. Normally, there are more critical care specialty positions available to RNs than LPNs.


                                                                   LPN vs RN Job Duties


   LPN and RN job responsibilities and duties can differ greatly. As required by law, RNs are responsible for overseeing LPNs. This model will vary by healthcare setting. In a hospital setting, for instance, a RN might be assigned to six patients on a medical floor, along with one assigned LPN and hopefully a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who might be assigned three times as many patients. In this model, the LPN would help the RN administer medication (in most states this will not include IV). The LPN in this model would also assist the RN with wound care and activities of daily living (ADLs). The RN would focus on care plans, charting, updating physicians orders and administering medication through IV. In the setting of a skilled nursing facility, the LPN would do all the previously mentioned duties, except IV medications. Meanwhile, the RN would oversee the whole facility and all working LPNs.


   In general, LPNs are responsible for providing basic nursing care such as checking blood pressure, inserting catheters and helping comfort patients by performing tasks such as changing and dressing. LPNs work closely with RNs as they are required to report patient stauses to RNs and doctors.


                                                        LPN vs RN Licensing and Certification


   Both LPN and RN candidates will be required to pass certain exams in order to become licensed. Once a state-approved and accredited Practical Nursing program is completed, LPN candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). When the exam is passed, candidates will be able to begin work as a LPN. RNs are also required to successfully complete a state-approved and accredited nursing program. After a program is completed, candidates must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). 




Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are an important part of the healthcare system. Here are some interesting facts about them:


1. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are educated using the nursing model. NPs are advance practice nurses -- healthcare professionals who have achieved licensure and credentialing well beyond their roles as registered nurses. All NPs obtain graduate degrees, and many earn additional post-master's certificates and doctoral degrees.


NP education provides theoretical and evidence-based clinical knowledge and learning experiences. It emphasizes development of clinical and professional experience necessary for comprehensive primary-care and specialty-care practice in a variety of settings. A distinguishing component of NP education is its concentration on the specialized needs of patient groups. For example, primary-care focused pediatric NPs dedicate the entirety of their didactic and clinical education to the needs of pediatric clients. Finally, NP education is 100% competency based. Progress is not determined by hours alone. Instead, NPs must achieve knowledge and skill competency to progress in their programs of study.


2. Nurse practitioners diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication. Nurse practitioners evaluate patients, make diagnoses, order and interpretbdiagnostic tests, and manage acute and chronic conditions. Additionally, NPs offer a distinct, holistic approach to healthcare that considers the whole patient and all his needs: physical, psychological, social, and others.


Over the last four decades, NPs have practiced with prescriptive authority in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Independent research has confirmed the safety and efficacy of this care.


3. NPs can practice autonomously in 19 states and in the District of Columbia. Nurse practitioners treat patients autonomously -- without physician oversight -- in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. This is the model recommended by the Institute of Medicine and National Council of State Boards of Nursing.


Many nationally recognized policy organizations and government bodies -- the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association, and National Conference of State Legislatures -- call for more independence for nurse practitioners across the country.


4. Nurse practitioners want to be nurse practitioners. Period. Becoming a nurse and then pursuing higher education to become a NP is clearly a personal choice. NPs do not want to be physicians; they are committed to nursing as a profession. In fact, a U.S. News and World Report list of the top 100 jobs for 2014, ranked nurse practitioners as number 4.


5. The majority of nurse practitioners choose primary care -- many in underserved areas. While nurse practitioners pursue advanced degrees and specialties in many areas, including acute care, neonatal, oncology, and psych/mental health, the vast majority (88%) are prepared in primary care. Almost 50% choose family health; 20% pursue adult care; 9% women's health; almost 9% pediatrics; and 3% gerontological. Many practice in underserved areas, including rural and frontier settings.


6. The nurse practitioner workforce in the U.S. is expected to grow dramatically. According to a Rand Corporation study published in July 2012, the nurse practitioner workforce is expected to reach 244,000 by 2025, an increase of 94% from 2008. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners estimates that the U.S. is currently home to more than 192,000 NPs, with more than 14,000 new NP graduates every year.


7. More than 45 years of research has consistently shown positive patient outcomes for NPs. Nearly 50 years of peer-reviewed, independent analyses show that the outcomes of nurse practitioner patients are equal to and sometimes better than those of physicians.


8. With each passing year, nurse practitioners are playing a larger role in America's healthcare system. In 2013, more than 900 million visits were made to nurse practitioners all across the United States. The data also shows that patients are consistently more satisfied with the care of nurse practitioners citing their holistic, patient-centered approach; the added health education and counseling; and the overall extra time spent with patients.


9. Nurse practitioners are no longer the new kids on the block. Nurse practitioners will soon celebrate 50 years as a profession. The role of the NP continues to respond to changing societal and healthcare needs of Americans. As leaders in primary and acute healthcare, they embrace their roles as providers, mentors, educators, researchers, and administrators.


10. Collaboration does not require regulation. Even as NPs strive for autonomy in all 50 states, every day physicians and nurse practitioners treat each other with respect, professionalism, and congeniality across diverse healthcare settings. This collegial rapport is essential for the best possible patient care. NPs are committed to ensuring that these bonds endure.

Source: Physicians


Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

If you've had surgery, chances are your anesthesia was performed by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).


CRNAs are highly trained advanced practice registered nurses who are qualified to administer every type of anesthesia to all types of patients in any healthcare setting including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and physician offices.


There are over 52,000 CRNAs nationwide performing 43 million anesthetics each year.


CRNAs are the sole providers of anesthesia in the vast majority of rural hospitals.


CRNAs have been providing care to patients in the U.S. for the last 150 years.


CRNAs are the main providers of anesthesia in the military, including forward surgical hospitals, providing safe anesthesia to the men and women of the U.S. military since World War I.


Several landmark studies confirm that CRNAs achieve the same level of safety and quality as their physician counterparts. In fact, researchers consistently find anesthesia care is equally safe whether provided by a CRNA working alone, an anesthesiologist working alone or a CRNA working with an anesthesiologist.


These trained professionals deliver the same safe, high-quality care as other anesthesia professionals but at a lower cost. Studies show that the most cost-effective anesthesia delivery model is a CRNA working as the sole anesthesia provider. Because Medicare pays the same fee for anesthesia services provided by a CRNA, an anesthesiologist, or both working together, the higher compensation of the anesthesiologist is borne by the hospital, healthcare facility or patients.


Laws, rules or regulations in well over half of all states do not require physician supervision of CRNAs. And 17 states have opted out of the federal Medicare requirement that calls for physician supervision of CRNAs.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

As the title suggests, a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, serves as an assistant to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and other nursing and health care professionals. Entry-level professionals, CNAs, which are also known as nurse aides and nurse's assistants, provide basic, day-to-day care for patients in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living centers and other health care facilities. Because minimal training is required and demand is high, this is a very popular profession and one that many use as a springboard into a long, rewarding career in nursing.


Basic Responsibilities:


CNAs juggle a variety of responsibilities, and their days are filled with non-stop action. The precise nature of their duties varies depending on where they work. A CNA working in a hospital is likely to have a completely different workday than one who works in a nursing home. Regardless of work environment, however, all CNAs act as assistants to nurses, including RNs and LPNs. They generally work more closely with patients than any other health care professionals, and they report crucial information regarding patients to senior nurses. Most CNAs would agree that their work is demanding but rewarding.


How Popular is the CNA Profession?


Certified nurse assisting has been and continues to be an immensely popular line of work. It's easy enough to see why when you consider a few things. First, becoming a CNA is generally quick and easy. Unlike becoming an RN or even an LPN, the training is very brief. Most CNA training programs run 12 to 16 weeks. Upon finishing, you can immediately take your certification exam, earn your license and start applying for jobs. Speaking of jobs, they are plentiful, and the field is expected to grow even more in the coming years. Although they are entry-level workers, CNAs earn well above minimum wage and typically enjoy excellent benefits.


A Flexible Profession:


Another reason aspiring nurses often begin as CNAs is because of the flexibility the profession offers. Although many CNAs work in nursing homes and assisted living centers, they are also hired by clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and many other facilities. Additionally, Many CNAs work in patients' homes. CNAs typically work fulltime, but many employers offer part-time positions as well. There's also great flexibility in terms of scheduling. CNAs can opt to work night shifts or day shifts. Some work strictly during the week while others work weekends.


Advancement Opportunities and Career Paths:


While many CNAs stick with the profession throughout their careers, many use it as a starting point towards higher goals. For example, if you aspire to eventually be a nurse but need to start earning a steady paycheck quickly, becoming a CNA makes sense as it allows you to do so while gaining relevant work experience. Many CNAs move into areas of specialization that help them command higher pay. Others still not only move into nursing but progress into advanced degrees and into advanced roles as nurse practitioners, researchers, administrators and more.


If someone is interested in entering the nursing field, becoming a CNA is a great way to see what it's like. Training is fast and affordable, and it's easy to find work. As a CNA, you can see for yourself whether nursing is something you would like to pursue as a lifelong career while gaining all kinds of relevant work experience. The work isn't easy, but it is necessary and rewarding.



Male Nurses

Although nursing has long been considered as a female-dominated profession, male nurses are now proving that they can do the job just as well. Their strength as well as skills are valuable in achieving excellent patient care. And just like their female counterparts, male nurses also have the compassionate heart to provide that tender loving care to their patients. So how well do you know these unsung heroes of the nursing world? Here are a few facts about male nurses :


1. Third-century Italians are considered to be the first male nurses in history. Fray Juan de Mena, on the other hand, was a Mexican nurse who came to the U.S. many years before the Pilgrims' landing at the Plymouth Rock. Hence, he is considered by many as the first male nurse to ever set foot to what would become the U.S.


2. Male nurses make up one-third of the U.S. military nurses.


3. Although male nurses only make up 7% of the total nursing population, an estimated 41% of them work as certified nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), one of the highest-paid specialists in the nursing profession.


4. About 70% of the male nurse population consider stereotypes as their biggest challenge as nurses. Although they can be as caring and reliable as their female counterparts, male nurses still struggle to break some unfair misconceptions. Most, if not all, male nurses experience unfair treatment from time to time. These include being looked down upon by male doctors, being unwanted in the maternity ward, and friends as well as family members asking the never-ending question "Why aren't you a doctor?"


5. Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was an acclaimed American poet and journalist. He wrote the "Leaves of Grass", a poetry collection first published in 1892. He was also known for volunteeringas a male nurse during the Civil War.


6. Gaylord Focker, a male nurse portrayed by Ben Stiller in the movie "Meet The Parents", is one of the most iconic male nurses in movie history. He popularized the line "You can just milk just about anything with nipples."


7. About 53% of male nurses prefer to take an associate degree in nursing while 13.9% of them take a diploma. For female nurses, it's the exact opposite. More women (26.3%) take a diploma compared to men while fewer (42.2%) female nurses prefer to take an associate degree compared to male nurses.


8. Male nurses make up over 13% of the total nursing school population in the U.S. It might not seem significant when  compared to female nursing students but the number is steadily growing.


9. According to history books, most nurses were men until about the 19th century. Today, however, male nurses only make up about 9.6% of all registered nurses in the U.S.


10. The patron saint of nursing is St. Camillus de Lellios who was canonized as a saint in 1746. He was known for founding the Camillan Order of Healthcare Workers and was declared patron saint of nurses and nursing groups by Pope Pius XI. 




You Probably Didn't Know

The nursing profession has a very rich history. Numerous personalities and significant events fill up the timeline of this great profession. Here are some interesting facts you probably didn't know.


1. The nurse cap is patterned after a nun's habit to keep the hair neatly in place. Although this clothing item has long been phased out because it is known to carry pathogens, some countries still use it as part of the female nurses' outfit.


2. Linda Richards was the first nurse to earn a diploma in the United States. She earned it in 1873 and the proof of her graduation is now displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.


3. The top occupational health concern of nurses is back injury. A survey done in 2011 shows that 59% of nurses are afraid they might have this.


4. James Derham, a former slave, worked as a nurse for several doctors. He bought his freedom using his nursing salary and later became the first African-American physician.


5. The first nursing school was established in India in 250 B.C.


6. The only U.S. First Lady to help in Union hospitals during the Civil War was Mary Todd Lincoln. She was a volunteer nurse.


7. The knights who were ordered by Pope Urban II to fight during the crusades became nurses to the ill and wounded. They decided to take this role for good, thus, they were called the Knight Hospitallers.


8. The first hospital training ground for nurses was established in the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserwerth, Germany in 1846.


9. The UKCC or the United Kingdom Central Council has established the Nurses Registration Act of 1919 that ensures nurses get the proper and high standard of training.


10. According to the World Health Organization, Nepal is one of the countries with the lowest nurse per capita. It only has 5 nurses per 100,000 people.


11. Harriet Tubman was also a nurse. She found a remedy for a disease called dysentery.


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