Differences Between Practice as an LNP and Registered Nurse

Most individuals use the term nurse to refer to and Registered Nurses. To them, these two professions are alike as Licensed Practical Nurses, as well as Registered Nurses, provide nursing care to patients. However, there is a clear difference between the Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and the Registered Nurses (RN). The two groups have to take a national exam to get a license to practice medicine. However, the contents of their exams vary, and so do their roles. The LPNs and the RNs differ in terms of leadership and management, professional responsibilities, legal liabilities, ethics, roles in quality and process improvement, among others (Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, and Cheever, 2012). This paper analyzes some differences between the two nursing professions.

Differences between Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses practices
The differences between the LPN and the RN are significant. They vary from state to state. Normally, the Licensed Practical Nurses work under the supervision of the registered nurses. Some of the dimensions in which the two groups differ include the following issues.

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Leadership and Management
Leadership and management are important aspects of the nursing practice. The relationship between these two dimensions is very close. Leadership and management positions of the Licensed Practical Nurses and the Registered Nurses differ in practice. This is due to the limitations put forward by Nursing Acts, state governments, and Licenses held by the two. They are caused by the differences in the competencies and education provided to the nurses (Porter-OGrady and Malloch, 2012).

The nursing practice expects the registered nurses to take leadership and management roles in the nursing units. The registered nurses act as the supervisors to the Licensed Practical Nurses. The Nursing Act prohibits the LPNs from making decisions or assessing patients without having consulted with the registered nurses (Yoder-Wise, 2010). For instance, an LPN cannot give medication, analyze the vital signs of patients, or take charge of nursing units unless it is agreed with a registered nurse. Therefore, the registered nurses have to , make important decisions, deliver complex care, and manage patients.

Licensed practical nurses act as support for the registered nurses as their educational qualifications and capabilities are below those of the registered nurses.

Similar to other professions, the nursing practice has its code of ethics that dictates the standards, ethical conducts, and roles of nurses regarding the values adopted in the nursing practice.

The code of ethics of the nursing profession describes the ethical commitments of both the Registered and the Licensed Practical Nurses to their patients, colleagues, employers, subordinates, and government (Yoder-Wise, 2010). Owing to the difference in the educational qualification and professional responsibilities of the RNs and the LPNs, the code of ethics treats them differently

The registered nurses have responsibilities that are complex and sensitive. Therefore, the code of ethics demands more from them than it expects from licensed practical nurses (Anderson, 2008). For example, the code requires the registered nurses to have more knowledge, accountability, competency, and .

Professional Responsibilities
The professional responsibilities of the registered nurses and the licensed practical nurses are similar. However, they differ in some aspects. The registered nurses have more responsibilities as compared to those of the licensed practical nurses. It is explained by the fact that the first group is more qualified than the licensed practical nurses do.

The registered nurses take leadership roles and give instructions to the licensed practical nurses. On the one hand, the LPNs carry out orders given by the RNs. This means that in caring for patients, the RNs assess the patients while the LPNs act as support teams.

The registered nurses have to make important decisions and handle sensitive and complex problems of the patients. Additionally, they have the responsibility of managing the nursing units (Furaker, 2008). On the other hand, licensed practical nurses are responsible for less complex duties. Further, they rely on the registered nurses for instructions. Therefore, the responsibilities of the registered nurses are more demanding as compared to those of the LPNs.

Opportunities Available for Present and Future Practice
The nursing practice is always ready to embrace more practitioners to the practice (Olshansky, 2011) due to the nature of the profession. Today, registered nurses have higher chances of getting better opportunities than licensed practical nurses have. Registered nurses are more capable of handling complex issues and are better qualified than licensed practical nurses are.

The future of the nursing practice is great (Smeltzer and Bare 2006). The demand for well-qualified and educated personnel is increasing by the day. Since the registered nurses outdo the licensed practical nurses, they are more preferable in employment than the licensed practical nurses are.

Educational Preparation to Participate in Evidence-Based Practice
The registered nurses and the licensed practical nurses go through extensive training before they get into practice. Consequently, to get ready for their work, the two are expected to participate in evidence-based practice at some point to test their skills.

Even though the two groups undergo extensive training, the registered nurses have an advantage over the licensed practical nurses because the first group undertakes a course that exposes them to more detailed education. Consequently, they have more knowledge on how to deal with various complex situations.

Licensed practical nurses gain skills, which are less complex as compared to those of the registered nurses. This puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to evidence-based practice. Therefore, the educational preparedness of the two groups is adequate. However, registered nurses have an added advantage.

Personal Reflection
In the course of my training, I have realized that the registered nurses and the licensed practical nurses have almost similar qualifications. However, registered nurses have several advantages over licensed practical nurses. For example, during my practice as a , I had to rely on a registered nurse for instructions in handling some issues of the patients.

During the practice, I had roles such as taking vital signs of patients, giving injections, dressing wounds, assisting in maintaining patients hygiene and giving massages. In addition, I had the privilege of supervising my assistants, aides, and my colleagues. However, I also faced a challenge in the sense that I could not make major decisions concerning the patients and the nursing unit. Despite being capable of handling various issues, I had to rely on a registered nurse due to the limitations put forward by the Nursing Act.

I have realized there was a great difference in terms of leadership, management, handling of patients, wages, and privileges between the two groups of nurses. All these factors favor the registered nurses as compared to the licensed practice nurses. I can attribute this difference to the fact that the RNs undergo training, which is more intense than that of the LPNs (Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, and Cheever, 2012).

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