Both Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) usually work under the guidance of a registered nurse (RN) or a doctor; however, the job of an LPN carries more responsibility than that of a CNA. LPNs therefore receive higher salaries than the CNAs. Because of this reason, most CNAs are looking for a way to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and go up one step in their healthcare career. In this post, we will discuss the CNA to LPN bridge courses which can help the CNA to transition to LPN while maintaining her job.
LPNs, often called as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in states like Texas and California have a job role that falls somewhere between the CNAs and Registered Nurses. By virtue of added experience and education, LPNs are usually self-motivated. They often assume the responsibility as a mid-level manager. Registered nurses give more freedom and responsibility to LPNs than the CNAs. Unlike a CNAs, the LPN is able to administer medication to patients, prepare IVs and set up procedural rooms. And in many cases LPNs would be supervising other healthcare staff like nursing assistants and nurse aides.
CNA & LPN Salary Difference
The average annual CNA salary is around $27,000, and the average annual salary of an LPN is around $40,000, exceeding the average CNA salary by $13,000. These salary figures will vary by experience, location, and employer. The difference in the salary can be a good reason for a CNA to hope to transition her job to that of an LPN.
CNA to LPN Additional Education Requirements
If you are already working as a CNA, you’d happy to know that you can continue studying for LPN while maintaining your job as a CNA. This is possible because most CNA to LPN bridge courses could be completed be part-time in the evenings or on weekends or even through distance or online programs. It is also possible for you to get a study leave from your job for taking these courses; and after completing the LPN bridge program you can resume your duties as an LPN. As a matter of fact, many hospitals, nursing homes and other employers often encourage CNAs working in their facilities to join CNA to LPN courses to advance their career in nursing. Some employers may even offer to take care of the cost of your education. It is therefore better that you talk to your employer about your future career advancement plans.
A CNA should obtain the following skills if she decides to become a License Practical Nurse
- Administer prescribed medications to the patients
- Monitor glucose for patients suffering from diabetes
- Collect samples from patients for testing and to perform some routine laboratory tests
- Knowledge of injections
- Starting and administering IV fluid
- Documentation of the information and sending reports to RNs and other team members
- Teaching CNAs the process of sterilization of instruments and other objects.
- Assisting surgeons in operation rooms
Many community colleges and vocational colleges throughout the United States offer LPN/LVN programs. The duration of these courses vary depending on each state’s requirements, but on average it takes about two years to graduate from these programs. Those to aspire to be a LPN/LVN must also pass the national NCLEX-PN exam before they can start working as an LPN in a hospital or health-care facility.
The training/education required for a CNA to LPN bridge program depends on the state and type of specialty. For example, in California, experience of at least 51 months in an acute hospital is necessary. Clinical specialty requirements include two hundred hours in maternity or genitourinary, two hundred hours in pediatrics, sixty four hours in Pharmacology and additional sixty four hours in one of these specialty areas. For other states, you’d need to refer to the guidelines by the board of nursing in your state.