What is the difference between a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and a registered nurse (RN)?

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This is a question that is often discussed in nursing circles and not everyone agrees on the answer. Many people believe the difference is in the types of skills an RN can do that the LPN cannot. But this has changed greatly with changes in the health care system and is no longer accurate today. Basically, the difference is one of depth and breadth. The Practical Nursing Certificate Program (PNC) is 10 months long while the shortest Associate’s Degree in Nursing Program (ADN-RN) is two years. Obviously, there is more opportunity in an ADN program to study topics in more depth and detail. For instance, the Practical Nursing Certificate Program (PNC) has one course studying the course of diseases, an ADN program will have at least two. Also, the PNC program does not have much time at all to study the specialty areas, such as Pediatrics, Psychiatry, etc. An ADN program generally has an entire course devoted to these areas. Finally, there are differences in opportunities. With the ... more
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