It’s easy to see the similarities between LPNs and CNAs. Both are essential to the field of patient care, in settings such as hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, and many other medical care facilities. But, as much as the roles of these two vital healthcare providers overlap, there are also some pretty big core differences in areas of salary, training, and the work they do.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurse degrees vary in the length of time you’ll go to school. You’ll be certified to work in patient care after a minimum of 12 months, which will earn you a certification. However, many more LPNs continue on to earn an Associates Degree, which will allow more leeway in finding a position in the healthcare field.
As an LPN, you can expect to earn nearly twice the salary of a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant. LPNs are typically under the supervision of an RN, but are able to write and implement patient care plans. Depending on the rules set forth by your state’s licensing board, as an LPN you may also provide certain courses of treatment, administer medications, and chart or document the care you have provided to your patients.
LPNs can grow their responsibilities with additional training. Many choose specialty areas, much like RNs and BSNs-a major core difference. Depending on the requirements of the facility, as well as the extent of your education, you are able to seek employment in longterm care facilities, such as nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers, home care, urgent care, and even in your local school system. The scope of your responsibilities, and the positions available are much broader than that of a CNA.
Certified Nursing Assistant
A Certified Nursing Assistant spends anywhere from six weeks to 6 months in a program for certification. Once certified as a CNA you’ll work under the guidance and direction of an RN, or BSN, and possibly an LPN, depending on the setting. You have the opportunity to work in longterm care facilities, assisted living centers, rehabilitation, home health, and even some hospitals.
As a CNA you’ll spend most of your shift providing hands-on care to your patients. You are typically the primary responder, and will be the liaison between the LPN or RN and the patients, identifying their needs and whether they are in a life-threatening situation. You are a very significant member of the patients’ healthcare team. You are very much an advocate for your patient, which is a core difference between you and the rest of the team.
A CNA is counted on to answer call signals, collect samples, and evaluate their condition. You provide physical care by moving patients, assisting in ambulation, bathing, making the patient’s bed, and assisting directly in many other ways.
- The core differences between CNAs and LPNs are many. The primary core difference is going to be the salary. An Average salary for a CNA is around $30,000.00 annually. For an LPN, the average yearly salary jumps to around $43,000.00.
- Additionally,one of the major core differences is in the course of study. While the six weeks certification course required by most states for a CNA will ensure employability, you really can’t build on it towards a degree. The certification course costs approximately $200.00-$2000.00.
- An LPN can continue on from the 12 month licensing course, continuing toward an associate degree and all the way to a masters degree, if so desired. The initial LPN program costs vary, and, depending on whether or not you intend to go for your license or all the way to an associate degree, can get pretty expensive. Without books and clinical fees included, and LPN course can begin around $10,000.00 to $15,000.00,
- For a CNA, the state board of nursing will administer your certification exam. For an LPN, you’ll be required to take the NCLEX-PN. As an LPN, when you pass the NCLEX, it’s recognized throughout the country. For a CNA, you will need to become re-certified according to the state where you move.This is considered among the core differences, as well. Both license and certification are good for two years.
Both CNA and LPN are vital to the success of patient care in the setting in which they work. With the high demand for qualified nurses of all kinds, finding employment shouldn’t be a concern. You are sure to be rewarded in either career, and the benefits of working in medicine are endless.