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Top 5 Misconceptions about Being a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Practical Nursing

being a licensed practical nures - misconceptions | Centura College

Being a Practical Nurse is rewarding!

Are you interested in a rewarding career in the health care field but can’t afford to wait four years to attend a traditional university?  Maybe you’ve even done some research into being a Licensed Practical Nurse and have stumbled across some common misconceptions that may have you second guessing your original plan.  Make no mistake about it; becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is one of the fastest ways to enter the health care profession at the nursing level.  There are however, some misconceptions about this profession as a career choice.  So let’s take a look at some of the top misconceptions about being an LPN.

Misconception #1 – What a Licensed Practical Nurse does

Some people think that an LPN might not be a real nurse, that they are just glorified CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistants).  That could not be further from the truth.  Let’s look at some third party sources that are generally considered pretty authoritative when it comes to defining work roles and titles of workers across most industries in America.

According to O*Net Online; a licensed practical nurse cars for ill, injured or convalescing patients in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, private homes, group homes and similar institutions.  They may work under the supervision of Registered Nurses or Physicians and state licensing is required.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; a licensed practical nurse monitors patient health and vital signs, administers basic patient care, provides for comfort of patients, enters patient data into records and discusses the care they are providing with the patient.  They work in nursing care facilities, hospitals, doctor’s offices and home health care services.

Misconception #2 – LPN’s are not required to attain licensure

This could not be further from the truth either.  In order to work as a licensed practical nurse, a candidate must successfully pass an approved or accredited practical nursing program and then pass the NLEX-PN Licensure Examination which is administered by the NCSBN (National Council or State Boards of Nursing).  Each states requirement may differ on the practical nursing program, so be sure to check with your local state board of nursing.  In Virginia, the requirements can be found on the Department of Health, Nursing website.

In Virginia, the requirements for a licensed practical nurse are;

  • No person shall perform services as a nurse practitioner in the Commonwealth of Virginia except as prescribed in this chapter and when licensed by the Boards of Nursing and Medicine
  • The boards shall license applicants who meet the qualifications for licensure as set forth in 18VAC90-30-80 or 18VAC90-30-85
  • Submit evidence of a graduate degree in nursing or in the appropriate nurse practitioner specialty from an educational program designed to prepare nurse practitioners that is an approved program as defined in 18VAC90-30-10
  • Submit evidence of professional certification that is consistent with the specialty area of the applicant’s educational preparation issued by an agency accepted by the boards as identified in 18VAC90-30-90
  • Submit the required application
  • Pay the application fee prescribed in 18VAC90-30-50
  • Provisional licensure may be granted to an applicant who satisfies all requirements of this section with the exception of subdivision A 3 of this section, provided the board has received evidence of the applicant’s eligibility to sit for the certifying examination directly from the national certifying body. An applicant may practice with a provisional license for either six months from date of issuance or until issuance of a permanent license or until he receives notice that he has failed the certifying examination, whichever occurs first

Misconception #3 – You have to go to school for 4 years to become a LPN

Although it’s true that most practical nursing programs do require additional schooling and specific training, the length of the program is generally much shorter than that of the traditional 4 year university.  In addition, most programs offer either a degree or diploma upon graduation that they can then use as proof of training during the licensure application process.

Misconception #4 – All LPN’s really want to be RN’s

Although yes, some LPN’s desire to advance their career training and education and go on to become Registered Nurses (RN’s) and even doctors, that is not true of every LPN.  In fact, many LPN’s stay LPN’s because they enjoy the personal and intimate level of care they provide to each patient.  RN’s, especially in smaller organizations, may be more on the administrative side and further removed from patient interaction, which may or may not be a determining factor in whether or not a LPN wants to advance their career to the next level.

Misconception #5 – Registered Nurses and Doctors look down on LPN’s and don’t treat them as nurses

While we cannot speak for all RN’s nor Doctors, we feel that most doctors and RN’s understand that every person in the medical field from orderlies, CNA’s (certified nursing assistants), MA’s (medical assistants) and yes…even LPN’s play a vital role in patient care, treatment and recovery.  Professionalism and consistent care is key to most hospital and patient care facility successes and that does not happen without the whole team working together and respecting each other’s strengths, skills and abilities.  So if you’re a Licensed Practical Nurse and you know your job and do it well, you are not going to have problems with anyone on your team looking down at you.

For more information about being a licensed practical nurse and a career in the health care field, or to speak with an admissions representative and apply for career training, contact Centura College today by visiting our Practical Nursing Webpage.  You can also learn more about Centura College at our Consumer Information Disclosure page, Your right to know.

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5 Comments

  1. LPN can read a written order and do what it says and RN can tell you why you are doing it

    • LPN’s also know how to carry out the order and why they are doing it!!!!!!

  2. THANK YOU so very much….FINALLY…a positive and true insight….not all LPN’s want to be RNs. I KNOW I don’t! Why would I desire paperwork over patient care? Ewwwwww. And….no care plans! I will be the best LPN “executing” your Care Plan! Finally….a positive thought on LPN’s wanting to STAY LPN. Thank you as well….if you’re mature, skillful, and committed….why would you allow another person on a healthcare team make you feel “beneath” them? Grow up already!

  3. I can’t wait to become an LPN. Doing my prerequisites now and going back to school after 8 years. I dream about the day I am pinned with a glorious smile on my face and am able to care for individuals who need it.

    • Good luck, Cassandra! With that kind of passion and excitement, you’ll go far. Thanks for weighing in and we wish you all the best! 🙂

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