Why Do People Think LPNs Are Not Nurses?

High school graduates aspiring to become Licensed Practice Nurses (LPNs) sometimes have to enroll in bridging programs to attain the high requirements for getting accepted into medical school. After graduation, the life of an LPN is hectic and takes a toll on one’s mental health due to witnessing death more frequently than professionals working in nonmedical industries. Despite all this commitment, nonexperts in medicine feel entitled to think that LPNs are not nurses. 

Are LPNs Real Nurses? 

Here are some false assumptions that make people dismiss LPNs for ranking lower than nurses. 

  1. College Degrees Sound Prestigious At Face Value

The average person grew up believing that they should study hard to make it to college and have a good life ahead of them. However, only a few students score enough points to transition from high school into prestigious colleges. That’s why Registered Nurses (RN) get treated with more respect because they graduate from medical school with a Bachelor Of Science (BSC) Degree in Nursing. 


LPNs on the other hand receive training in community-level colleges and hospitals that are accredited by state nursing boards. While RNs spend four years in training, Licensed Practice Nurses graduate after 12 months. At face value, most people would be quick to dismiss an LPNs credentials based on this comparison.  

  1. People Make Assumptions Based On Brief Observations 

A nurse leader usually assigns roles to team members that consist of RNs and LPNs. Patients in the hospital will observe the LPN collecting information and frequently report to either an RN or a nurse leader. This observation makes most people conclude that Licensed Practice Nurses are mere assistants. 

It’s wrong to make assumptions about a person’s credentials based on where they rank on the hierarchy of authority. LPNs in Arizona and Colorado can administer IV medication and some states even allow them to manage dialysis. 

  1. Non Medics Don’t Understand The Hierarchy of Nurses

RNs who want to specialize in a particular branch of medicine enroll for a Masters of Science degree in Nursing that takes two to three years to complete. After graduation, an RN earns the title of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) which enables him or her to execute more functions than their previous rank. 

A patient that’s been under the care of an APRN will notice that the nurse is administering injections and coordinating various medical tests. However, LPNs cannot perform these functions and this difference in roles makes patients make the wrong conclusions.  

  1. LPNs Tend To Work Mostly In Homes For Senior Citizens

Homes for senior citizens have the highest demand for hiring LPNs to provide healthcare to aging patients. Virtually all Licensed Practice Nurses have worked in a home for the elderly at some point in their careers. Some LPNs prefer working in this branch of nursing because it’s less hectic compared to hospital shifts. 

On the other hand, non medics have a narrow mindset regarding areas where nurses work. Some people believe that nurses are found in hospitals or medical clinics only. These people also assume that homes for senior citizens only hire medical assistants. 

  1. Hospital Management Sometimes Promotes Unfair Categorization

Some doctors and top-ranking leaders in hospitals are to blame for promoting this unfair categorization between nurses and LPNs. In staff meetings, the management addresses nurses and LPNs differently however this habit can affect morale and productivity.  Patients who don’t understand the hierarchy of healthcare providers will most likely believe that their doctors are right when categorizing LPNs differently from nurses.  

  1. The Huge Difference Between LPN and Nurse Salaries

Despite the high similarity in the job description, the difference between an LPN and RN’s salary is significant.  Registered Nurses earn $43-$45 per hour however LPNs pocket $27-$20 only. Most people aspiring to become nurses calculate the difference in hourly rates then rush to the conclusion that Licensed Practice Nurses aren’t real healthcare providers.  

Should LPNs Listen To Other People’s Opinions  

The main reason why people feel that LPNs rank lower than nurses is mainly motivated by ignorance. That’s why you shouldn’t take people’s opinions personally whenever they try to make you feel less qualified than your credentials.  

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