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National Nurses Week: How RNs Differ From LPNs

by Tim Brunicardi on May 9, 2018

Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)While both positions support and promote the care of their patients, there are many differences that distinguish one job from the other.

What Are Their Educational Requirements?

As for the educational requirements, a RN is required to have a minimum of a two-year degree or three-year diploma. However, to become a LPN all one needs is a year of training that will result in a certificate.

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What Are Their Job Duties?

Next, the duties of a RN and LPN can differ greatly depending on what state one resides in. In Ohio the rules that distinguish a RN from a LPN are determined by the State of Ohio Board of Nursing and are detailed in Section 4723.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. However, it’s important to note that these job descriptions are always subject to change.

According to Section 4723.01, the role of a RN is defined under the following terms:

  • Identifying patterns of human responses to actual or potential health problems amenable to a nursing regimen.
  • Executing a nursing regimen through selection, performance, management, and evaluation of nursing actions.
  • Assessing health status for the purpose of providing nursing care.
  • Providing health counseling and health teaching.
  • Administering medications, treatments, and executing regimens authorized by an individual who is authorized to practice in this state and is acting within the course of the individual’s professional license.
  • Teaching, administering, supervising, delegating, and evaluating nursing practice.

In addition, that section also defines the role of a LPN as the following:

  • Observes patient teaching and care in a diversity of health care settings.
  • Contributes to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of nursing.
  • Administration of medications and treatments authorized by an individual who is authorized to practice in this state and is acting within the course of the individual’s professional practice, except that administration of intravenous therapy shall be performed only in accordance with section 4723.18 or 4723.181 of the Revised Code.
  • Medications may be administered by a licensed practical nurse upon proof of completion of a course in medication administration approved by the board of nursing.
  • Administration to an adult of intravenous therapy authorized by an individual who is authorized to practice in this state and is acting within the course of the individual’s professional practice on the condition that the licensed practical nurse is authorized under section 4723.18 or 4723.181 of the Revised Code to perform intravenous therapy and performs intravenous therapy only in accordance with those sections.health information
  • Delegation of nursing tasks as directed by a registered nurse.
  • Teaching nursing tasks to licensed practical nurses and individuals to whom the licensed practical nurse is authorized to delegate nursing tasks as directed by a registered nurse.

In addition, Chapter 4723-4 of the Ohio Administrative Code requires both RNs and LPNs stay up-to-date on their scope of duties and responsibilities.

How Do I Become A RN or LPN?

Hocking College offers a Practical Nursing degree and a Registered Nursing degree that can be completed in no more than four semesters. If you're interested in pursuing a career in one of those fields, contact our Admissions Team at admission@hocking.edu.

This blog is part of a series in celebration of National Nurses Week, which is held from May 6-12 every year.

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