LPN vs. RN: What’s the Difference?

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By: American Institute of Alternative Medicine

The idea that all nurses are the same and have the same training is a common misconception among the general public.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and Registered nurses (RNs) actually have two very different roles and backgrounds. The most essential difference to know is that an LPN must work under the supervision of an RN, and they can only perform certain medical duties.

Work Settings and Scope of Practice
LPNs examine patients, observe crucial symptoms, and assist in wound care. They tend to work in home health care, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. RNs, have many duties to perform, but the most crucial is to cater to all the needs of their patients and to make sure they get adequate comfort in a secured and safe environment. RNs take note of the doctor’s orders and execute them, while also developing care plans based on a patient’s condition. RNs typically work in general medical and surgical hospitals.

Benefits of Pursuing an RN or LPN Degree
Choosing a career as an LPN or RN provides many great career opportunities and perks, including:

  • Flexibility in scheduling. One of the best parts of becoming an RN or LPN is the chance to make your own work schedule. You can have your own practice if you wanted to, or you could choose to go into business with someone else. It’s up to you.
  • Travel opportunity. RNs and LPNs are both in high demand, which means you can start a career virtually anywhere and practice in any health setting you wish. Additionally, you could travel regularly for work.
  • Practicing independently. You have a world of opportunity as an RN or LPN, and one of the best opportunities is the chance to be your own boss. You can build your own career from the bottom up, which can be professionally and personally rewarding.
  • A faster career path. Becoming a traditional medical doctor can take many years – four in medical school and then between three and seven years in residency. Becoming an RN or LPN can be complete within a few short years.

In addition to these perks of the trade, the field of nursing is a great way to find purpose in caring for others.

Holistic Nursing Care
Hospitals and other healthcare settings are increasingly utilizing integrative healthcare delivery models that merge traditional western medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Likewise, prospective LPN and RN students are increasingly seeking education that includes an integrative approach to health promotion and care.

“We’re not teaching nursing students how to perform complementary or alternative therapies”, said Dr. Pam Frost, Director of Nursing at American Institute of Alternative Medicine, “rather we expose and educate students, from a theoretical perspective, to alternative health practices that patient’s may also be utilizing”.

All AIAM nursing programs take an integrated approach to nursing education. This approach includes a traditional and scientific based foundation integrated with holistic nursing philosophy.

Demand for LPNs and RNS
According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment of registered nurses (encompassing LPNs and RNs) is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth will occur for a couple of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care, growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as they live longer and more active lives.

To learn more about AIAM nursing programs, students can visit the AIAM Nursing program page or apply to the AIAM Nursing Degree Program.

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