LPN to RN: Become a Registered Nurse

Many are unaware that a lot of studying and training is involved in the path of becoming a nurse. Prior to nursing practice, one must graduate from a nursing school, college or university that has been pre-approved by the state. Then, the student would have to register for a licensure examination known as the NCLEX or National Council Licensure Examination. Upon passing as either a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN), the new nurse can then start practicing in a medical facility.


B.S. in Nursing

A licensed practical nurse, or LPN for short, is a nurse that only has a year’s training in healthcare. In the California and Texas, they are known as licensed vocational nurses. Usually, their training entitles them for entry level jobs with relatively lower salaries than other types of nurses. In their work, they assist registered nurses in simple procedures like taking blood pressures or temperatures, administering medication, caring for infants, performing routine tests and in some cases, administering injections under supervision.

Registered nurses, on the other hand, have a larger job scope and more responsibilities that enable them to climb higher up the career ladder. Compared to a licensed practical nurse, a registered nurse can advance in his/her career in administrative work or as head nurse of a unit. Registered nurses can as also further their studies and pursue careers as advance practice nurses or become lecturers in established nursing schools, passing down their knowledge and experience to young nurses.

LPNs and RNs share a lot of the same job descriptions. They usually work together as the supporting staff of physicians, surgeons and therapists. However, as similar as the job comparisons are between an LPN and an RN, LPNs have limited freedom to perform any tasks without prior permission. The persisting dependence for someone else to make a decision for an LPN can often be irritating and demeaning when in fact, both LPNs and RNs do just about the same type of jobs. Thus, it is not surprising that many LPNs would want to take that leap to achieve an RN status if they are able to do so.

Making that shift from LPN to RN involves a lot of hard work and commitment in both studying and training. LPNs who wish to advance to an RN status must possess at least two years of working experience before they can enter an accelerated LPN to RN program. Otherwise, they can study for an associate’s degree in nursing which takes two to three years to finish, after which they would be able to obtain RN licensure through the NCLEX.

Generally, many working RNs have an associate’s degree in nursing as their highest form of education. It is common to find entry-level staff nurses take advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits in order to support their studies for a higher education level. In the end, it is all worth it, as registered nurses have a generally higher salary and are in greater demand than licensed practical nurses.

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