Practical nursing is one of the fastest paths you can take into the nursing field. As a result, you might be considering becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or an LPN. In your research, however, you might have found that you also have the option to earn the title as a Licensed Vocational Nurse, or LVN.
If you are confused about the LPN vs. LVN debate, you are not alone. But look no further: Stone Academy has compiled a go-to guide for navigating the ins and outs of nursing licensure titles. Here, you will find your questions on the basics, and beyond, answered here.
Q. Do LPNs and LVNs do the same job?
A. Yes! In fact, the Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) are two different titles for the same job description. The biggest difference is their name! Most states use the title LPN for practical nurses, though some states use LVN more frequently.
Q. What are the requirements to become an LPN/LVN?
A. While specific requirements vary state to state, LVNs and LPNs must have completed an approved educational program, such as Stone Academy’s LPN school, and learn the fundamentals of nursing, biology, and pharmacology. Upon completion, nursing candidates must pass the NCLEX-PN exam, which will grant them their “licensed” title. Then, both LPNs and LVNs are eligible to practice under Registered Nurses and Doctors.
Q. What is included in the LPN/LVN job description?
A. Both Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses provide support services to patients in a multitude of healthcare settings. For example, they provide basic medical care, such as measuring vital signs, changing bandages, assisting with personal hygiene, and making patients comfortable. They also evaluate patient needs, monitor their conditions, collect data, and conduct physical assessments. LPNs and LVNs may also delegate, direct, and prioritize patient care and therapy. Health education is a large part of the LPN/LVN job description, as these nurses are tasked with communicating vital information between patients, loved ones, clients, RNs, and Doctors. Above all else, LPN/LVNs promote patient safety in line with the Nursing Practice Act, by engaging in nursing process and critical reasoning. In short: the LPN and LVN job descriptions are one in the same.
Q. So, why have different titles at all?
A. Well, these different titles originate simply from location. There are only two states which utilize the LVN title, and those are California and Texas. The LPN title is used in the remaining 48 United States. You might have seen the LVN title in blogs, literature, journals, and textbooks, that are written in or by authors from CA or TX. Whenever you read that title, you can safely interchange it with the LPN title in your head.
Q. Where does the title difference come from in the first place?
A. Here we can dig into a mini history lesson, relayed neatly by NursingLicensure.org. As recently as the 1950s, there was no national standard to certify and qualify professional nurses. Though there were practical nursing programs before the middle of the century, before World War II, there was not one state-licensed nurse! It’s hard to believe. After the war, New York became the first state to establish a nurse licensure, and over the next ten years, every state would independently fashion their own. California and Texas simply crafted language a little differently when organizing their Nurse Licensing Boards and related jurisdiction.
Q. What does the LPN/LVN field of study include?
A. To become an LPN/LVN, you will have to study both in the classroom, as well as in clinical settings. You’ll want to gain experience in both acute and long-term care settings. This will help you learn more about your own personal preferences and help you to make informed career decisions. Stone Academy’s LPN program in Connecticut prepares students to work in long-term care, home care, rehabilitation centers, and hospice, among many other choices.
Q. Will the LPN vs. LVN title impact my job search and employment eligibility?
A. The definite answer is “No!” Hiring managers understand that the difference in title is solely linked to the state in which you earn your licensure. However, now might be a good time to mention that certain states have a far higher average LPN/LVN salary than others. This could be a smart consideration as you decide where to go attend school. Connecticut ranks fourth highest in the nation, with an average of $58k annually for LPNs.