The healthcare industry is vast and offers a range of career opportunities. Two commonly known roles are a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). While both roles involve working with patients, there are significant differences in job responsibilities, education, and salary.
In this article, we will explore these differences in detail and provide a brief overview of the LPN career path. Additionally, we will discuss how to become an LPN from a CAN, making it easier for individuals to transition from one role to another.
LPN vs. CAN: Understanding the Differences
Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) both work in healthcare, but their roles and responsibilities differ significantly. A CNA is responsible for providing basic patient care under the supervision of a licensed nurse or physician. They help patients with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. On the other hand, LPNs are licensed healthcare professionals who perform more advanced tasks such as administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and providing wound care.
Differences in education and training requirements for a CAN and LPN
Here are the differences in education and training requirements for a CAN and LPN:
Training duration: A state-approved CNA training program typically lasts between 4-12 weeks, while an LPN training program usually takes around 12-18 months to complete.
Course content: CNA programs include classroom instruction, laboratory training, and supervised clinical experience, while LPN programs include a combination of classroom instruction, laboratory training, and hands-on clinical experience.
Education level: CNAs are not required to have a high school diploma or equivalent to enter their training program, while LPNs must have a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in their program.
Curriculum focus: The focus of CNA training programs is on providing basic patient care such as grooming, feeding, and measuring vital signs, while LPN training programs cover more advanced clinical tasks such as administering medication, starting intravenous (IV) fluids, and monitoring patients’ overall health status.
Licensing requirements: To become a CNA, one must pass a state competency exam. In contrast, to become an LPN, one must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) after completing their training program.
Understanding these differences in education and training requirements is essential for individuals interested in pursuing a career in healthcare and for those looking to transition from a CNA to an LPN.
- Scope of practice for each profession
- Assisting patients with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming, and dressing.
- Monitoring patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.
- Helping patients with mobility and range of motion exercises.
- Providing emotional support and basic patient education.
- Documenting patient observations and reporting any changes to the supervising nurse or physician.
- Administering medication and treatments as prescribed by a physician or supervising nurse.
- Monitoring patients’ overall health status, including vital signs and symptoms.
- Assisting with diagnostic tests and procedures.
- Performing wound care and dressing changes.
- Starting and monitoring intravenous (IV) fluids.
- Assisting with the development of patient care plans and treatment goals.
- Providing patient and family education about medications, treatments, and disease management.
- Document patient observations and report any changes to the supervising nurse or physician.
How to Become an LPN from a CAN?
LPN Education and Training Requirements
Individuals who have previously worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and are interested in advancing their career in healthcare may consider becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The transition from a CNA to an LPN requires additional education and training. However, the good news is that some of the coursework from the CNA program can be credited to the LPN program. In this article, we will outline the steps required to become an LPN from a CNA.
High School Diploma or Equivalent
Having a high school diploma or equivalent is a prerequisite for enrolling in an LPN program. If you do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, you will need to obtain it before enrolling in an LPN program.
There are several options for obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent. One option is to enroll in a General Education Development (GED) program, which is a set of tests that assess your knowledge in math, science, social studies, and language arts. Another option is to enroll in an adult high school program, which allows you to earn a high school diploma through classroom instruction and coursework.
A strong foundation in math and science is crucial for success in an LPN program. LPN programs require coursework in pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology, which are heavily rooted in math and science. Having a solid foundation in these subjects will make it easier to understand the coursework and excel in the program.
LPN Program Requirements
Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is an excellent career option for individuals interested in providing patient care in the healthcare industry. LPN programs are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become licensed practical nurses. In this article, we will discuss the prerequisites for LPN programs and how to find and choose an LPN program.
The prerequisites for LPN programs vary by institution but generally include a high school diploma or equivalent, a minimum GPA requirement, and a minimum score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). Some LPN programs may also require prerequisite coursework in math, science, and English.
Finding and choosing the right LPN program can be challenging, but it’s crucial to select a program that meets your educational and career goals. Here’s howto find and choose an LPN program:
Here is a list on how to find and choose an LPN program:
Research Accredited Nursing Schools: Start by researching accredited nursing schools in your area. Accredited nursing schools have undergone a rigorous review process and have met specific educational standards required for nursing programs.
- Consider Program Accreditation Status: Make sure the LPN program you select is accredited by the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
- Look at Program Length: LPN programs can vary in length from 12 to 18 months. Consider your personal schedule and workload when selecting a program length that works for you.
- Compare Program Costs: LPN program costs can vary widely depending on the institution. Consider the cost of tuition, textbooks, and other fees when comparing programs.
- Check Clinical Training Opportunities: LPN programs typically include clinical training opportunities. Check to see if the program you’re considering offers hands-on clinical training at reputable healthcare facilities.
- Consider Location: Choose an LPN program that is convenient to your location. This will make it easier to attend classes and clinical training sessions.
- Gather Information on Curriculum: Look at the LPN program’s curriculum to ensure it covers all of the necessary topics, including nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology.
- Check Job Placement Rates: Look at the program’s job placement rates to see how successful graduates are in finding employment after completing the program.
- Attend Information Sessions: Attend information sessions hosted by the nursing school to learn more about the program and ask questions of the program faculty.
- Speak with Admissions Counselors: Speak with admissions counselors to get additional information about the program and its requirements.
By following these steps, you can find and choose an LPN program that meets your educational and career goals.
LPN Program Curriculum
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) programs provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become licensed practical nurses. LPN programs cover a variety of topics, including nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. In this article, we will provide an overview of the courses included in an LPN program and discuss the importance of mastering key concepts.
LPN programs typically include both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. Some of the courses included in an LPN program may include:
- Nursing Fundamentals: This course focuses on the basic principles of nursing, including patient care, infection control, and legal and ethical issues.
- Anatomy and Physiology: Students learn about the structure and function of the human body, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
- Pharmacology: This course covers the safe administration and use of medication, including dosage calculations and common drug interactions.
- Mental Health Nursing: This course focuses on understanding and treating mental health disorders.
- Pediatrics Nursing: Students learn how to provide care for infants, children, and adolescents.
- Medical-Surgical Nursing: This course covers the care of patients with various medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and respiratory diseases.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology Nursing: This course focuses on the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
Mastering key concepts covered in LPN program coursework is crucial for success in the program and in your career as an LPN. The coursework covered in an LPN program provides the foundation for providing quality patient care. Understanding concepts such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology is essential for administering medication and treatments safely and effectively.
Additionally, mastering key concepts in LPN program coursework will prepare you for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Passing the NCLEX-PN is required to become licensed as an LPN. Thus, understanding and retaining key concepts covered in LPN program coursework will be crucial for success on the exam.
LPN program coursework includes a variety of courses covering nursing fundamentals, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and nursing specialties such as mental health and pediatrics. Mastering key concepts covered in LPN program coursework is crucial for success in the program, passing the NCLEX-PN, and providing quality patient care as an LPN.
Clinical Experience and Hands-On Training
Clinical experience is a crucial component of LPN education as it allows students to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-life scenarios. During clinical rotations, students can observe and participate in various nursing procedures, which helps them develop their critical thinking, decision-making, and patient care skills. This practical experience also provides an opportunity for students to work alongside experienced nurses and healthcare professionals, allowing them to learn from their expertise and develop their own professional network.
To gain hands-on training as an LPN student, there are a few strategies that can be helpful. Firstly, it’s essential to find a program that offers clinical experience as part of its curriculum. This could be provided through partnerships with local hospitals or clinics, or through on-campus simulation labs. Additionally, seeking out volunteer opportunities at healthcare facilities can provide valuable exposure to the field and allow students to begin building their professional network.
Another effective way to gain hands-on training is to seek out internships or part-time work in a healthcare setting. This can provide students with the opportunity to get a sense of what it’s like working in a clinical environment, while also developing essential skills and building relationships with experienced nurses and healthcare professionals.
Becoming an LPN from a CAN
If you’re thinking about becoming an LPN and have experience as a CAN (Certified Nursing Assistant), you may be wondering how your previous experience will benefit your transition. As a CAN, you’ve likely already developed many of the foundational skills needed to succeed as an LPN, such as familiarity with medical terminology, patient care techniques, and basic nursing procedures. This experience can help provide a solid foundation as you build on that knowledge and work towards becoming a licensed practical nurse.
Having experience as a CAN can also benefit aspiring LPNs in several ways. For one, it provides an opportunity to gain practical insight into the healthcare field, working alongside other healthcare professionals and developing professional relationships along the way. Additionally, experience as a CAN can help LPN students understand the demands of the job and develop essential time management and organizational skills.
Bridge Programs for CANs
Bridge programs for CANs are designed to help individuals who have completed a Certified Nursing Assistant program to transition to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. These programs build on the foundational knowledge and skills developed through a CAN program, providing additional training in areas such as pharmacology, nursing theory, and clinical procedures.
To find and choose a bridge program, it’s essential to do your research and consider factors such as program length, cost, and accreditation. Look for programs that are accredited by organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It’s also important to consider the program’s reputation and track record of success, as well as any prerequisites or requirements for admission.
Courses included in bridge programs can vary depending on the program and institution, but typically include topics such as nursing fundamentals, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and medical-surgical nursing. Other courses may cover topics such as ethics, patient communication, and healthcare documentation.
LPN Certification and Licensing Requirements
To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), individuals must first complete an accredited LPN program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Licensing requirements vary by state, but typically include a combination of education, clinical experience, and passing scores on the NCLEX-PN exam.
Here are the steps on how to become an LPN:
- Research state requirements: Each state has its own requirements for LPN licensure. Research the specific requirements for your state of residence.
- Complete an accredited LPN program: Enroll in and complete an accredited LPN program, which typically takes one year to complete. Ensure that the program is approved by the state board of nursing.
- Apply to take the NCLEX-PN exam: After completing the LPN program, you can apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
- Pass the NCLEX-PN exam: The NCLEX-PN exam is a standardized test designed to measure the competencies required of entry-level LPNs. A passing score is required to become licensed.
- Apply for LPN licensure: Once you have passed the NCLEX-PN exam, you can apply for LPN licensure in your state. Submit the appropriate application and fee, along with any required documentation.
- Complete any additional requirements: Some states may have additional requirements for LPN licensure, such as a criminal background check or continuing education credits.
- Maintain licensure: To maintain your LPN licensure, you must adhere to the regulations and requirements set forth by your state board of nursing. This may include continuing education requirements, license renewal fees, and adherence to ethical and professional standards.
Overall, while becoming an LPN requires significant commitment and dedication, it can be a rewarding career path for those passionate about patient care and nursing. By completing an accredited LPN program, passing the NCLEX-PN exam, and maintaining licensure through continuing education and professional development, LPNs can continue to grow and thrive within their chosen profession.
Becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) requires completing an accredited LPN program, passing the NCLEX-PN exam, and obtaining licensure in your state. Clinical experience and hands-on training are both essential components of LPN education, providing students with the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world settings and develop critical thinking and patient care skills. For those with prior experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN), bridge programs can help facilitate the transition to becoming an LPN by building on previous knowledge and skills.
If you’re considering a career as an LPN, it’s important to be aware of the education and training requirements, as well as the demands and responsibilities of the job. However, for those passionate about nursing and patient care, pursuing a career as an LPN can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice. By completing the necessary education and training, obtaining licensure, and pursuing continuing education and professional development, LPNs can continue to grow and thrive within their chosen profession.