Throughout the nursing industry, learning the roles and responsibilities of different titles can be confusing. Few titles undergo such confusion as the difference between LPN vs LVN. These positions, which play a vital role in the nursing team, may appear different, but are they? As you dive deeper into the various nursing positions commonly found in modern medical clinics, understanding the similarities and differences of all roles is an essential task.
Whether you’re interested in starting a career as a nurse, or are simply curious about this dynamic industry, the best place to start is unraveling the maze of titles. Afterwards, you’ll hold a greater understanding of how each branch of nursing works together to form a strong, sturdy and effective tree.
Is There a Difference Between LPN vs LVN?
Before diving into the roles and responsibilities of this position, it’s important to understand the difference between these two imperative careers. Essentially, both positions are different names that represent identical jobs.
LPN, which stands for Licensed Practical Nurse, and LVN, or Licensed Vocational Nurse, consist of the exact same job roles and responsibilities. So, why do they have different names? While this interchanging title may be confusing, the reason for different names comes from state requirements where you work.
For example, Licensed Vocational Nurses, or LVN, is what this position is titled in Texas and California, while Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, is how this position is titled in the rest of America. Ultimately, the only difference between an LPN and LVN is where you work.
Of course, this opens us to an entirely different topic. Since the names differ by state, are there different levels of responsibilities based upon where you perform this job? As with many other licensed professions, the primary roles and responsibilities of an LPN or LVN are relatively similar throughout the United States. However, certain states allow this position to perform additional tasks, while other states limit the scope of practice.
To understand the exact duties and expectations for an LVN/LPN in your state, review the requirements posted by your state’s board of nursing.
While the duties and titles can vary from state-to-state, the process of becoming an LPN vs LVN is strikingly similar. Regardless of where you live, in order to start working as this professional, you must undergo state-approved training. This training may be performed at a traditional school, or online. The most important element to consider when searching for an LPN vs LVN training program is to ensure it’s accredited by a national accrediting agency, and approved by your state board of nursing.
Upon completing your required training, you must then sit for and pass a licensure examination. This exam is the same throughout the United States. Known as the NCLEX-PN Exam, you’re tested on both the theoretical and practical knowledge learned in school. Upon passing this examination, you may then apply for licensure in your state. Only after you’ve satisfied the education and examination requirements can you apply for work as either an LPN or LVN.