Have you fallen in love with the nursing industry by working as a CNA? Are you ready to take a new step in your career that’s chock-full of added responsibility and more money? If so, going from a CNA to an LPN may be the perfect next move!
First things first, though. What exactly is an LPN?
Short for “Licensed Practical Nurse,” LPNs provide basic bedside care – like taking patients’ temperatures, dressing wounds, giving injections, monitoring IVs, and even assessing for abnormal sounds or symptoms. You’ll find LPNs working in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and even in private homes. And, if you’re a nursing assistant, you’ll work directly below them. (The LPNs themselves work under Registered Nurses.)
While it may sound like some of the duties of a CNA and an LPN are similar, there’s a big difference – Licensed Practical Nurses wind up doing a whole lot more critical thinking during the workday. While a nursing assistant may spend most of their time doing “routine” stuff, an LPN will jump in and help the doctor collect samples for tests and other patient-specific and disease-specific tasks.
LPNs also learn the science behind things. For example, your CNA training may have told you to keep your patients’ heads elevated, but it may not have gone into the scientific reasons for doing it. An LPN will learn exactly WHY it’s so important for a patient to have his head elevated.
There’s another big difference between CNAs and LPNs – the money. Because there’s more stress and responsibility involved with being a Licensed Practical Nurse, you’ll make more money working as one. In fact, you may be able to double your salary by going from a CNA to an LPN!
OK, so how do you actually make the jump?
Luckily, it’s not hard to go from a CNA to an LPN. In fact, many schools offer nurse aide to LPN bridge programs. Like your CNA training, you’ll spend the first part of the program learning in a traditional classroom (or online), and then you’ll spend the second part doing hands-on work at a hospital or clinic.
You don’t have to be a Certified Nursing Assistant initially in order to become an LPN, but by doing a bridge program, you can take the credits you got for your CNA training and put them towards your LPN certification. By doing it this way, you can cut down your training time to less than a year. (Bridge programs are much more accelerated than traditional LPN training courses.) Plus, it’s typically a lot cheaper to go through a bridge program, because you won’t have to pay to take a bunch of core classes.
So, how do you qualify for one of these bridge programs?
You’ll need to present your CNA diploma and prove that you have an active CNA license. You’ll also need the transcript from your former training program in order to prove that your grades were good enough. (In most cases, you won’t qualify for a CNA to LPN bridge program if you earned anything less than a C in any of your classes!)
Already having your CNA certification can go a long way towards become an LPN. Since these programs are so popular, the schools tend to fill up quickly. By having work experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant, you’ll be able to stand out ahead of the competition.
What will you learn?
CNA to LPN classes go over everything from anatomy, to nutrition, to computer education.
You don’t have to stop there, though. If you decide you want to move up the corporate ladder later, you can always take your LPN training and use it to work towards becoming a Registered Nurse. The sky’s the limit!