If you are a Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, you probably are at the point of you career where you have gleaned a lot of valuable knowledge and learned a lot of skills that you use day-to-day in you work. Your instincts as somebody who takes care of patients should be almost natural, if not completely natural as of now, and you are probably more effective and efficient than you ever have been before. There may also be a chance you are well-versed with the minutiae of the greater health care system, though the important thing is being well-versed in your job, as the first line of defense when it comes to providing health care.
However, you may also be considering whether you should move on to becoming a Registered Nurse, or RN. This is actually a good decision for most, as Registered Nurses who were previously hired as LPNs can earn potentially more, move farther in their career, and be more independent as far as career direction is concerned. Recent statistics show that RNs earn a median annual income of $65,470 – that’s about one-third more than the annual median salary of LPNs, which was at $41,540 as of 2013. But it’s more than just about the money, as there are other salient benefits to becoming an RN.
As mentioned above, greater autonomy is one key advantage, and so is more in-depth professional interaction. You also become greater-immersed in making decisions in your field, and get to learn more advanced communication, care planning, and delegation skills. You can also stand to provide an even better quality of care to your patients, and if you’re the type of nurse who entered this field because you love helping others, moving from LPN to RN should indeed be a sound move.
You also have to keep in mind that LPNs do not have too many settings in which they can practice their trade. Of course, there are hospitals and clinics, but you can also be an LPN for a school or an assisted-care facility. But if you’re an RN, that should allow you to practice in a wider variety of settings, including home health care, hospices, case management agencies, and state and federal government agencies.
What types of courses should you take if you want to move on from being an LPN and become a Registered Nurse in the future? There is no one easy answer to that question, but the courses you’ll have to take may depend on whether you are aiming for an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. Prerequisite courses include Anatomy, Physiology, English, and Public Speaking, while requirements for admission may include, but may not be limited to your high school diploma or GED, or any other similar transcript from an earlier educational institution, and your letter of application to nursing school. With that in mind, it’s always good practice to contact the school you want to apply for to make sure you’ve got all your requirements down before studying to become an RN.