"Everyone in healthcare knows the importance of proper medical staffing and how it is essential for excellent patient care. Nurse-to-patient ratio is especially important when it comes to keeping down mortality rates, infection rates, and errors. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, increased demand for healthcare workers, and medical staff burnout, it has been increasingly difficult to find adequate medical staff.
The first step in making a smart medical staffing decision is knowing exactly what kind of nurse you need. In this article, we have compared registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) so that you can make an informed decision about your selection criteria.

What Is a Registered Nurse (RN)?

Registered nurses (RNs) are trained to treat patients and overlook medication and treatment.


To become a registered nurse, individuals can pursue one of the following options:
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (4 year-program)
  • Associate degree in Nursing (2-3 year-programs)
  • Diploma from an approved nursing program (2-3 programs)
Educational topics include physical science as well as social and behavioral sciences. RNs also get training and clinical experience.
In order to get licensed, they must finish their chosen program and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). This can be followed by further education in specific specialties.


RNs have a myriad of responsibilities ranging from providing treatment to supervising other staff. They oversee the work of not only LPNs, but also nursing aides, home care aides, and other healthcare workers.
They also coordinate patient care, administer medical and other treatments, discuss progressing after treatment, and are certified to both, perform and analyze diagnostic tests. The detailed list below covers the various duties that can be assigned to RNs.
  • Emergency response situations such as basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support
  • Managing fistulas
  • Admitting and discharging patients
  • Delegate to LPNs and CNAs
  • Report to physicians and act on their orders
  • Access implanted infusion devices
  • Manage central lines and use them to administer medication
  • Chemotherapeutic and antineoplastic agent administration
  • Monitoring and administering medication (oral and IV)
  • Assist with wounds

What Is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are trained to provide basic nursing care and make sure to tend to the comfort of the patient.


To become an LPN, individuals have to complete a one-year nursing program that is accredited by the state they are going to practice in. These are practical courses that may be taught at community colleges or technical schools. Educational topics include biology, pharmacology, nursing, and supervised clinical experience.
After the completion of the program, individuals receive practical nursing certification and take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Passing this exam results in obtaining a license which then allows them to work as LPNs.


LPN duties involve basic nursing like inserting catheters, checking blood pressure, dressing and bathing patients, and reporting updates to both, doctors and registered nurses. The comprehensive list below can narrow down your selection further:
  • Ostomy care
  • Oral, topic, and rectal medication administration
  • Inserting nasogastric tubes
  • Caring for patients who require kidney dialysis
  • Caring for patients using ventilators
  • Caring for patients with tracheostomy tubes
  • Physical assessments (performing and documenting)
  • Changing wound dressings
  • Collected urine, blood, and stool specimens
  • Shift-change report communication
  • Feeding patients through nasogastric and gastrostomy tubes
  • Feeding, dressing, and tending to patient hygiene
  • Inserting and maintaining urinary catheters
  • Emergency CPR
  • Following nursing plans laid out by RNs
  • Administering IV medication

RNs and LPNs: Differences

Despite sounding fairly similar, these two jobs are extremely different in both, education and training, and in career trajectory.
While LPNs usually work in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and private homes, RNs primarily work in hospitals and may have different specializations such as nephrology (taking care of kidney disease patients) or neonatal nursing (taking care of infants and new mothers). They may also work as med-surgical nurses, emergency room nurses, nurse managers, oncology nurses, nurse information specialists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists.
RNs hold more responsibilities than LPNs and are paid more. RN education is also longer than LPN education and can result in more career opportunities. However, LPNs can always pursue further education to become RNs if they wish.

Medical Staffing Solutions

Once you’ve come to a decision about the type of nurse you want to hire, there’s still one thing left to deal with – the difficulty faced when trying to find a qualified, efficient individual, especially in the midst of a healthcare crisis. This is where Interim Healthcare comes in – our medical staffing solutions are sure to meet your needs.
We offer all kinds of medical staffing, including those for healthcare facilities, schools, government agencies, prisons, and private corporations. Our staffing services can also provide you with competent medical receptionists, medical assistants, and medical secretaries. No matter the specialty, we have qualified professionals who work both, per diem shifts and extended block contracts. We also provide qualified COVID-19 vaccination staffing.
Check out our medical staffing services, and feel free to contact us for further information. Be sure to call us at (800) 338-7786 and we’ll be sure to address any and all medical staffing needs."

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