The health care industry desperately needs licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN)! A nurse isn’t an entry level job though, it requires two to four years of education and/or training. Here’s some information to help you decide if a career in nursing is for you.

Licensed and Registered Nurses

While LPNs and RNs are both nurses, their roles are different. An LPN handles basic nursing care and keeps a patient comfortable, while an RN handles more on the medication and treatment side of care.

An LPN works as part of the health care team to take care of patients by observing and charting changes to their condition, tracking a patient’s vitals, administering medications or fluids, and providing basic patient care treatments like administering injections or inserting catheters.

An RN records the patient’s vitals; administers medications and observes for reactions; monitors and records a patient’s condition; coordinates the care plan with the health care team; supervises other nursing staff; and modifies treatment plans. An RN can provide care at different hospitals or schools, as well as teach health education to individuals or groups.

Training Requirements

Training and schooling requirements are different for the licensed practical nurse and the registered nurse. Here’s a closer look at what to expect:

Education or training to be a licensed practical nurse (LPN):

  • A one-year diploma or certificate earned through a technical or community college.
  • A supervised clinical experience.
  • Take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-LPN) to obtain a license.

Education or training to be a registered nurse (RN):

  • A Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing and/or diploma from an approved nursing program.
  • Supervised clinical experiences in various workplaces.
  • Take the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain license.
  • Could choose to become certified in specialty areas too.

Whether you want to become an LPN or RN, you will benefit from having soft skills like empathy, conflict resolution, teamwork, critical thinking and good communication skills.

Working in health care can be a rewarding career path. Contact your West Michigan Works! service center to see if training opportunities are available.