Difference Between LPN and RN Duties

Only a foolish individual can question the important role of a nurse in the society. Although the doctors and other paramedical staff certainly have big roles to play, a nurse can easily be termed as the most important cadre in the medical field – you may remember the critical role that the nurses played during the World Wars.

LPN stands for a Licensed Practical Nurse, while a RN is a Registered Nurse. There is significant difference between their duties as well as practice. It requires only one-year degree to become an LPN. On the contrary, a person needs to pass four- or two-year programme to be a RN.

When it comes to responsibilities, a RN has more to do in the hospital. Among a RN’s major duties is to supervise the LPNs. LPN’s cannot take independent decisions, whereas a RN can. The LPNs always work under the supervision of RNs or doctors, and can never bypass the registered nurses during the job.

The area of work is also quite different for both nurses. A RN always has a wider spectrum of issues to address than the LPN. As far as the pay scale and hierarchy are concerned, the RN’s are way above the LPN’s.


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    A RN is the one who graduates with a 4-year nursing programme. A person with a 2-year programme with an Associate’s Degree is also called as a registered nurse.

    A NCLEX-RN certificate is required to become a registered nurse. RN is supposed to know everything about physiology and resource management. However, his/her job does not end after getting knowledge about these two things, as she needs to be good at team functioning and research utilisation.

    RN's always have the higher level in the nursing staff. They can even assist the physicians in treatment of the patients. They also have the freedom to take decisions on their own.

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    A Licensed Practical Nurse does only a 1-year practical nursing programme. If a person is interested in becoming an LPN, he/she just needs to pass NCLEX-PN.

    LPN’s main duties are pretty simple. She/he is totally responsible for observing patients and collecting blood and urine samples. And even if she/he is not allowed to give injection to the patient, the LPN prepares it for the RNs. The primary function of a LPN is keeping the patients as comfortable as possible.

    Besides all this, the LPNs are responsible for giving medicine to the patients as well as assigning duties to the nursing assistants. However, they have no freedom of giving any drug to the patients without the permission of either doctor or registered nurse.

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