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4 Important Differences Between LPN And RN Training

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Studying any profession is not a simple task and this is no different with becoming a nurse. Most people might assume that it is easy – well at least easier than becoming a doctor. But there are many challenges to becoming a nurse, too.

Group of medical students studying in classroomThere are a progression of training programs that will help you advance in your training. The difference between LPN and RN training consist of the amount of time and the education involved.

There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration to determine who is a good candidate to study and enter the field of nursing:


To enter nursing school, candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED). Students can choose to study to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).

An LPN learns basic nursing practices and will study for a period of between 9 and 18 months before needing to pass a State Licensing Assessment Paper. They have limited responsibilities and normally work under the supervision of a RN. LPN’s are employed by hospitals, clinics, doctors, nursing homes and can provide home healthcare. They can further their studies at a later date to become an RN.

RN’s carry far more responsibilities and can provide immediate care as well as develop care plans for patients. They take orders from doctors in implementing treatment and administering medication. An RN must complete a bachelors degree (4 years) or associates degree (2 years) from a nursing school and must pass the NCLEX-RN examination. Associate degrees may limit career prospects later in life where further studies may be necessary. Bachelor’s degrees open students to achieving a maters degree or doctorate in nursing. RN’s work in all aspects of healthcare.

The Curriculum

Both LPN’s and RN’s will study the following course material:

  • First Aid
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Human Diseases and Health
  • Fundamentals of Nursing

RN’s will study these subjects in more detail and will also focus on developing:

  • Leadership Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Community Health
  • Social Sciences

A LPN will need to complete a clinical internship and an RN will be provided with hands on training. Other subject matter may be included depending on the institution through which the studies are completed.

Additional Factors

Studying to be a nurse will require full time dedication to the course material in order to complete it in the relevant time frame. Part-time or night courses are available but this will increase the completion time of the nursing course.

Examinations are complicated and are not just concerned with right or wrong answers. They are designed to test the students ability to determine the best course of action to take when faced with specific situations. It will be necessary to dedicate time to take practice tests.

A passion for the nursing profession and the ability to deal with the difficulties of caring for all types of patients and illnesses is a necessary component to studying to become a nurse. Not every person has the right character to succeed at nursing.

With the right amount of passion, dedication and determination, becoming a LPN or RN is achievable. Although there is a sizable difference between LPN and RN degrees, many nurses work as an LPN and then continue their education to become a registered nurse.