Nurse to Nurse: The Transition from LPN to RN

Arkansas Hiring and Employment trends in 2021
The transition from Licensed Practical (or Vocational) Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse (RN) can be a smooth and seamless process for many nurses pursuing the next step of their professional nursing career path. Most LPNs who make the determined commitment to the lengthy process of becoming an RN find that the more experience they have as an LPN – being able to work at the top of their practice – slide into the RN role with ease.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS), there are over 720,000 LPNs practicing in the country, and the job market is expected to significantly expand over the next decade. LPNs earn an average of $46,000 per year compared to the RN who earns just over $71,000 annually. Although salary is a compelling motivator, many LPNs pursue the RN license in order to expanded their scope of practice. Simply put, nurses are able to do more for patients and their communities with an RN license.

LPN to RN Program Details

There are many schools that offer accelerated LPN to RN programs that recognize the education and skills already earned by the LPN. Nurses who attend these programs typically spend close to 2 years to complete courses such as:

  • LPN to RN Transition
  • Health Assessment
  • Family Nursing
  • Psychosocial Nursing
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Complex Adult Health
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Research
  • Leadership, Management and Career Development

Many schools, such as Allegany College of Maryland in Cumberland, MD, offer a complete online program in as little as 18 months, plus clinical rotation. It is during the clinical rotation portion of the education process where the LPN nursing students will excel. Nurses working in acute care, rehabilitation or long-term care already know how to manage their time and prioritize tasks. Many LPNs have their own assignment of multiple patients, conduct focused assessments, delegate tasks to aides and take physician orders.

Increased Responsibility

LPNs who have completed nursing school and passed the NCLEX-RN note that the biggest transition to the title of RN is the increased breadth of responsibility. While LPNs have their own scope of practice and are responsible for knowing the boundaries, moving to the all-encompassing RN role can be overwhelming. RNs are not only responsible for the care that they directly provide, but also can be held accountable of those in their charge. Healthcare facilities should have processes in place for following the chain-of-command to report concerns related to care. However, in the moment of discovery it is usually up to the RN to step in and mitigate any errors.

LPNs who transition to the role of the RN are highly desirable to institutions. Proven work history in the field of nursing are just some of the qualities of what recruiters look for in nursing candidates. Returning to school and completing the challenging nursing curriculum shows prospective employers a significant commitment level to the nursing profession.

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