Difference Between LPN and RN

Treating a patient is the most crucial job in the world, as one mistake can result in loss of life sometimes, that is a worse thing that can happen to anyone but saving someone is also the greatest thing any person can do.


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The professions engage in such jobs or, in simpler terms, engaged in medical fields are doctors, nurses, physician assistants, etc. doctors are the main profession that performs major surgeries and other medical tests.

But nowadays, another most preferred career in the medical field is the nurse. It is because they also engage in the betterment of the patient and require less educational qualification than a doctor.

Now there are many choices in the field of the nurse as well, most famous are LPN and RN.

Key Takeaways

  1. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) complete a one-year program, while Registered Nurses (RNs) have a two- to a four-year education.
  2. RNs have a broader scope of practice and can perform more complex procedures than LPNs.
  3. RNs generally have higher salaries and more career advancement opportunities than LPNs.

LPN vs RN 

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) offer basic health care services under the guidance of a professional or a doctor. These nurses must have a qualified degree and a license to treat patients. Registered Nurse (RN) is a nursing profession that offer full health care services without the guidance of a professional. They are in high demand within schools, clinics and hospitals.


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LPN is a profession or type of Nurse. It is the profession that needs to work under the guidance of a doctor or other advanced profession.

They are not allowed to work independently. They have to perform basic functions, such as providing care to stable patients, checking their tests reports, telling them the precautions, and measure the need for fast recovery. Etc.

They are paid a good amount of salary, but when compared to others, their salary is less.

RN is also a type of nurse that requires advanced educational qualifications. They can be a part of the doctor’s team and can also work independently.

They have to perform major or serious functions, for example, they can be part of major surgeries, and they can prescribe medications, etc., they can hire assistance for helping.

They are high in demand and are paid a good amount of salary that is usually higher than the other profession/nurses such as LPN.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLPNRN
Minimum educationOne year of degreeAdvanced education
LicenseMandatoryNot mandatory
Independently workingCannot workCan work
DemandLess demand More demand
SalaryLess salary More salary

What is LPN?

Licensed Practical Nurse is a profession associated with the medical field, it requires less time to become a nurse, and the following are duties of LPN:

  • They have to feed and bathe patients.
  • They have to keep a check on the blood pressure and temperature of the patient.
  • They have to change the bandages and clean the wounds.
  • They have to keep the records of the patients.
  • They have to communicate with the patient about how they feel and what precautions measures have to be taken.

 LPN has to be earning a qualified degree in diploma, which covers the following topics:

  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Human Development

Also sometimes they should have experience of working as an assistant. Although each state and place have different rules for qualifying an LPN.

They are qualified for treating the patient directly and prescribe medications for them. They can only see a stable patient. They can be easily seen as assistants of doctors and RNs in pharmacies, and clinics, etc.

For work, it is necessary they should have a license.


What is RN?

Registered Nurse is a profession under nursing. They provide most of the care to the patient and have to check the work of the assistants. Following are the duties of a Registered Nurse:

  • They have to administer medications and check the drip along with the drawing of blood.
  • They have operated and monitor all the medical equipment.
  • They are responsible for taking the necessary tests and collect samples from the labs.
  • Communicate with patients to take necessary precautions after the treatment.
  • They have to administer the senior doctors to improve the care and treatment.

They get a good amount of salary annually as they are required at most of the health care institutes. They require having a degree and advanced education qualification, which includes the following topics:

  • Advanced health assessment skills.
  • Courses focused on mental health, community nursing, and gerontological.
  • Nursing-based research.
  • Management and leadership.

There are different rules for a Registered Nurse in terms of having a license. Some might not consider it a necessity. Some might not.


Main Differences Between LPN and RN 

  1. LPN and RN differ in terms of the basic job description, LPN is responsible for assisting RN and doctors mainly, they look after providing care to the stable patient they directly do not engage with any critical patient while RN has to look after the LPN whether they are performing their tasks responsibly or not, they are part of main teams of a doctor.
  2. Both of them work in a different environment, LPN works in the physician’s office, home healthcare agencies, nursing homes, etc. whereas RNs works in schools, private clinics, hospitals, etc.
  3. LPN provides basic health care and other administrative duties under the doctors, whereas RN provides full care to the patients, takes necessary tests, and engages with more crucial work.
  4. Education requirement for both of them is different, LPN is required to have a one-year degree in a diploma or nursing course while to practice as RN more advanced qualification is required along with the degree, they have to be experienced in working with patients.
  5. Lastly, they also differ when it comes to the demand of the profession. LPN is less demanded as their work is minor that can be performed by any other medical profession, they don’t have any special work or engage with difficult patients while RN is more demanded profession due the work they perform, they are engaged directly in treating their patients.
Difference Between LPN and RN
  1. https://journals.lww.com/nurseeducatoronline/Abstract/1987/07000/EDUCATIONAL_MOBILITY_IN_NURSING__LPN_TO_RN.10.aspx
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1557308710000235
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2155825615301733
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