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Nursing Care: The Difference Between LPNs and RNs

Blog February 7th, 2015

Let’s set the stage. Your elder is in need of more care than you are able to give and the cost of in home care is too high – they need to be placed in a senior care facility.

You’ve already decided on the type of care your loved one needs to receive (whether that’s Assisted Living, Adult Family Home, Nursing Home or Independent Living) and now you want to know what nursing care is like; essentially, you want to know who the qualified professionals are that are going to be taking care of your loved one.

So let’s get started with the difference in nursing care between Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Professional Nurses (RNs).

What is an LPN?

An LPN is a Licensed Practical Nurse. To become an LPN, you must complete training and coursework that usually takes a year, but may take as long as 18 months. Afterwards, LPNs must complete the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

What are LPNs responsible for?

LPNs handle a lot of the custodial and home health care ranging from food preparation and eating, dressing/grooming, taking vitals and readings as well as some administrative duties (this includes keeping a track record of their medical history).

In addition to all this, LPNs are extremely personable. They’re not only there for the seniors but also the families as well. It’s their job to communicate the duties, medications and treatments their elders are undergoing.

Where can you find LPNs?

Although many practical nurses work in a physician’s office, you’ll find them in various senior living options as well. Specifically, LPNs provide home health care (in home care), work in a hospital (under a physician or RN), or in a nursing home.

What is an RN?

An RN is a registered nurse (also known as a professional nurse) and they need to earn either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or an Associate’s degree. In both cases, they must pass the NCLEX-RN.

What are RNs responsible for?

RNs have more responsibility than LPNs. They are able to perform all the duties of an LPN, but are also licensed with the ability to treat and medicate senior patients. They play a huge role in determining the proper treatment of the seniors and planning their care. In other words, if your elder is in a hospital and is discharged but needs rehabilitative care, then an RN will relay that information to you, so that you can take care of your loved one.

In addition to all this, registered nurses assist with grief counseling.

Where can you find RNs?

RNs primarily work in hospitals, but others operate in clinics to help provide preventative care to seniors. In most cases, registered nurses focus their studies on a particular field (i.e. cardiology, oncology, surgical care, among others). Of course, RNs also work in a variety of senior housing communities – in some cases, they own Adult Family Homes or are at least on call at Assisted Living facilities.

Frequently, RNs are on-call 24/7 because they also provide evaluations and intensive care for those with life-threatening conditions.

Due to the dedication and education these nurses undergo, your elder is in good hands, but in case you’re not convinced our Care Advisors perform background checks on the nursing homes’ staff on your behalf. We make sure your elder is safe and secure.

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