The Job Responsibilities between RN’s and LPN’s vary from state to state. You can find specific practice guidelines on the state board of nursing website where you live.
In many states, LPN’s are not allowed to work in specialty areas of the hospital like the ICU, ER, Burn Unit, L&D, and NICU; however, LPN’s are highly utilized in the sub acute areas in the hospitals, long term living facilities, and in physicians’ offices. Generally LPN’s are not allowed to admit patients or complete patient assessments without an RN to oversea. LPN’s can not hang blood or administer first time medications.
In some states LPN’s are not allowed to administer medications via IV, some allow LPN’s to administer IV Fluid and antibiotics. The LPN program generally has less general education requirements and costs less. It takes approximately a year to complete an LPN certificate course and two years to complete your Associate Degree as an RN, and about eighteen months for a diploma in nursing. Some of the classes are the same for each, like Anatomy and Physiology, while the RN program also adds in classes regarding administrative aspects. Both programs require hands on education practices.
RN’s make a higher salary than LPN’s. It is a wise idea to take into account what you want to be doing and where you want to be working prior to deciding between becoming an LPN or an RN. There are LPN-to-RN bridge education programs if at a future time an LPN wants to expand their practice. The specific roles for RN’s and LPN’s are expanding as the medical industry grows.