Should I Become A Licensed Practical Nurse Or A Registered Nurse?
With excellent job prospects and good pay, it is no wonder that nursing is the career choice for many who want to work in the healthcare field. In addition to these draws, nursing also provides many different educational pathways to enter the profession. If you are confused as to whether you should study to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN), this should help make things clearer for you.
You can consider becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) if:
- You want to get into the nursing profession with a minimal amount of schooling. LPN programs can be completed in a year or two.
- You are looking for a cheaper way to finish nursing. Due to the shortened time needed to complete the course, you greatly reduce the cost of tuition and related expenses.
- You want to provide patients with basic medical care. Tasks include taking vital signs, helping patients bathe and changing bandages.
- You don’t have problems working under the supervision doctors or registered nurse.
- You don’t mind earning lower pay.
You can consider becoming a registered nurse (RN) if:
- You want to be able to do give more comprehensive nursing care to patients. A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will subject you to a more rigorous four-year program which is a necessary preparation before you can become a registered nurse.
- You want to open doors to more job opportunities. Many employers prefer registered nurses.
- You want to have a certain degree of autonomy in doing your work as a member of the healthcare team.
- You want to earn more.
- You want to open more doors to further nursing specializations that allow you to advance in your career as a nurse.
The decision to study to become a licensed practical nurse or to take the lengthier path towards becoming a registered nurse will partly be determined by the state of your finances. If you really need to work right away then there’s no question that LPN will be the more practical choice. However, if you’re willing to endure four years of professional nursing education so you have better and higher-paying employment prospects after you graduate, then you should strive to become a registered nurse.
It’s a no-brainer that becoming a registered nurse does open doors to more opportunities. However, you don’t have to worry that the doors to becoming an RN will be closed to you after you chose the LPN path. You can still go back to school to earn your bachelor’s degree then take the NCLEX-RN test so that you can become a registered nurse through bridge programs offered in various colleges and universities.
If you are already working as an LPN, try asking your employer if they give tuition reimbursements to those who are working towards becoming RNs—most do. This will greatly remove the financial worry from your shoulders while allowing you to advance in your nursing career.