Eight Myths About LPNs Debunked

Eight of the most common myths about licensed practical nursing, including LPNs aren't real nurses or they are all women.
Eight Myths About LPNs Debunked

If you're considering pursuing a career as a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, chances are that you have encountered at least a few of the common myths about the profession. All too often, misunderstandings about what licensed practical nursing is about prevent people who would be great LPNs from ever taking that first step. Before ruling out a career as an LPN, then, it pays to learn the truth behind the most common LPN myths. Read on to learn more about them.

A ton of misinformation is always swirling around out there about nursing in general and licensed practical nursing specifically. For various reasons, certain myths regarding this profession have developed and been reinforced over time. Those who don't know any better readily believe these myths because they don't tend to be too outlandish. By learning about these myths, you'll recognize them when you see them, and you can do your part to stop perpetuating them:

LPNs are Not Real Nurses

One of the most unfair judgments that can be made about the field of licensed practical nursing is the idea that LPNs aren't real nurses at all. Given that the term "nurse" appears right in the job title, however, this is patently untrue. Like registered nurses, who are often regarded as "real" nurses, LPNs must undergo approved training, and they must earn their licenses before they can enter the workforce. In every way, shape and form, LPNs are indeed nurses, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

LPNS are Just RNs Who Couldn't Cut It

Another very hurtful and completely untrue myth about LPNs is that all of them really want to be RNs but couldn't handle nursing school. Again, this is completely false. Oftentimes, aspiring RNs start out as LPNs to get their foot in the door. Later, they continue their training and progress to become RNs. Plenty of others, however, are perfectly happy as LPNs and remain in this position throughout their careers. There are lots of LPNs who have never even entertained the idea of becoming RNs even though they could easily complete the training.

LPNs Can't Be Educators

Since they are usually the most entry-level professionals in a healthcare setting, it isn't too common for LPNs to train others. As a result, many people are under the impression that LPNs are restricted from educating others. Again, this is completely false. For one thing, CNAs have less experience than LPNs, and they are often trained by LPNs to gain more skills. Also, experienced LPNs routinely assist in training newcomers. It's not unheard of for LPNs to lead group training sessions in some cases too.

The Work and Training are Easy

Because the training to become an LPN is much briefer and less expensive than that to become an RN, people often assume that it means that it's really easy. In reality, the exact opposite is generally true. LPN training programs are short, but they are intense. Students must absorb a vast amount of information, and they must acquire a wide array of new skills. Working as an LPN is also very challenging. It never gets "easy," but it becomes more manageable as you gain more experience.

Few Employers Hire LPNs

Lately, there has been a major push for nurses who have bachelor's degrees. For this reason, many people are under the impression that most employers aren't looking for LPNs. That's not the case at all. LPNs still overwhelmingly work at nursing homes and assisted living centers, but they can also find gainful employment at hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices and many other facilities. Anywhere where healthcare services are administered, there is likely to be work available for qualified LPNs.

There's a Lot of Workplace Drama

Thanks to soap operas that take place in hospitals and other healthcare settings, many people believe that LPNs and other healthcare professionals are constantly engaged in workplace drama. However, assuming that this is universally true about LPNs is unfair. The truth is that this type of thing isn't more common among certain professions. Rather, it occurs on a case-by-case basis. Before accepting a job as an LPN, find out what others have to say about the workplace environment. If it sounds like a lot of turmoil, cross it off the list and look elsewhere.

Only Women are LPNs

Since the vast majority of licensed practical nurses are women, people assume that men aren't even allowed to be LPNs. Of course, this is not true at all. For one thing, such a rule would be very discriminatory, as there is nothing about this work that precludes men from completing it. For another, more and more men are entering the nursing field, so it's becoming more and more common to see male LPNs at various facilities. If you are a man who wants to be an LPN, nothing is stopping you.

There's No Room for Advancement

Finally, being an LPN is often described as a dead-end job. People tend to think that LPNs have no room for advancement. Within the field itself, however, you can earn specialty certifications that may allow you access to better pay and other perks. While working as an LPN, you can always work toward your RN license by either earning an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, or a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. From there, there are all kinds of advancement opportunities.

Don't let unfair and untrue misconceptions about licensed practical nursing prevent you from realizing your dream. The fact is that thousands of people are happily employed as LPNs, and there is no reason that you can't be too. Just ignore the myths and focus on being the best LPN that you can be.

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