LVN To RN: Job Definitions and Degree Programs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 30, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021

Updated March 30, 2021

Published February 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The nursing profession encompasses a variety of job titles that allow candidates to expand their qualifications and achieve career advancements. LVN-RN programs give nursing students the ability to accelerate their learning and become well-trained health care professionals. By researching more about LVN-RN nursing programs and their benefits, you can determine whether it's a degree path that suits your needs.

In this article, we define LVN and RN job titles, explore what an LVN-RN program is, review the benefits associated with participating in an LVN-RN program and provide a list of jobs you can pursue after graduating from an LVN-RN program.

Related: What Is the Difference Between LVN and RN?

What is an LVN?

An LVN, or licensed vocational nurse, is a nursing professional who works under RNs to provide patient care in a health care facility. They typically have to complete one year of education, followed by an examination to qualify for their role. Their job duties typically include taking patients' vital signs, administering vaccinations, asking patients questions about their medical health and monitoring a patient's response to medications. They also help RNs as needed.

Related: Guide To LVNs

What is an RN?

An RN, or registered nurse, is a health care professional responsible for overseeing daily patient care at hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and physician offices. To become a registered nurse, individuals need to attend a two-year associate's degree program for nursing or a four-year bachelor's degree program. Upon completion of either program, RNs have to take and pass the national licensing examination to become fully qualified.

Because of their education and credentials, registered nurses have a variety of job responsibilities. These include inserting intravenous catheters, comparing previous medical data to vital signs, communicating with physician's about patient concerns and helping to educate a patient and their family about their care needs. RNs may also choose to specialize in one or more departments including the ICU, ER, pediatric care, OR and more.

Related: How To Become a Registered Nurse: Career Guide and Requirements

What is an LVN-RN program?

An LVN-RN program is a type of degree program that helps current LVNs earn their nursing degree to become an RN. These degree programs account for an LVN's previous education and work experiences, which allows them to earn their RN degree in a shorter amount of time. There are two basic tracts for LVN-RN programs. These include an associate's degree tract and a bachelor's degree tract as RNs can obtain credentials through both:

  • LVN-ADN: Because LVNs have one year of education already, the LVN associate's degree tract typically consists of one year of instruction. This may vary depending on full or part-time enrollment and the institution's requirements.

  • LVN-BSN: LVN bachelor's degree programs take approximately two years to complete. Upon completion, students take and pass the RN exam to qualify to work as RNs.

Related: 5 Steps To Get Into a Nursing Program

Benefits of choosing an LVN-RN program

There are several ways you can benefit from choosing an LVN-RN program for your education. Review these benefits of choosing an LVN-RN program to aid your decision:

Enhances earning opportunities

By taking part in an LVN-RN program, you have the opportunity to increase your salary expectations. This is because RNs typically earn more because of their additional education and responsibilities.

Saves valuable time to commit to work experience

When you earn an RN degree through an accelerated program, you minimize classroom instruction and get more time to gain clinical experience as an RN. For example, whereas a standard BSN takes four years to complete, an LVN-RN program to complete a bachelor's takes two years.

Increases employment opportunities

Upon completion of an LVN-RN program, you can expand your employment search to work as an RN in hospitals, health care clinics, and other health care facilities that may not normally offer LVN employment opportunities.

Gives individuals more schedule flexibility

When you enroll in an LVN-RN program, you have a chance to structure your course schedule with your continued work as an LVN.

Re-inspires individuals to work in the nursing field

Taking part in an LVN-RN program gives you the chance to revive your passion for nursing as it challenges you to learn new terminology and assume more advanced job responsibilities.

Related: Your Guide To Registered Nursing Programs

Jobs you can get after completing an LVN-RN program

Here are some examples of jobs you can obtain after the completion of an LVN-RN program. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the national average salary link for each job title below.

Registered nurse - emergency room

National average salary: $59,191 per year

Primary duties: Registered nurses who work in the ER assist patients with a variety of injuries and illnesses. They perform assessments, record medical histories and conduct tests to determine the cause of illnesses. They also stitch and clean wounds, set bone breaks, triage patients according to severity and insert IVs.

Registered nurse (RN)

National average salary: $61,740 per year

Primary duties: General registered nurses work in care units where patients stay overnight or for extended time frames. They monitor vital signs, administer medications at set time intervals and provide emotional support to patients and their families. Registered nurses also organize stock rooms and notify their direct superiors of inventory shortages. As a part of a registered nurse's job, they may also take blood samples, change wound dressings and communicate with physicians about developing symptoms.

Registered nurse - home health

National average salary: $61,910 per year

Primary duties: Registered nurses specializing in home health typically work for a health care agency and administer care to patients at home. They may attend multiple house calls per day, or they may be responsible for a singular patient's care. During their house calls, home health registered nurses check their patients' vital signs and administer medications, sometimes through IVs. They check wounds or infections and change dressings as needed. Registered nurses working in home health specialties may also help patients bathe, eat or change their clothes.

Registered nurse - operating room

National average salary: $87,561 per year

Primary duties: Registered nurses working in the operating room unit, also called OR nurses, specialize in assisting patients and surgeons before, during and after surgical procedures. Before surgery, OR nurses monitor a patient's vital signs, prepare the operating room and reassure patients about the surgery. During surgery, OR nurses assist physicians by monitoring the patient's vital signs and handing the surgeon necessary instruments. After the procedure, OR nurses assist with moving a patient into recovery. Here, they monitor their vital signs closely, ask them questions and conduct tests to make sure they recover well.

Registered nurse - PACU

National average salary: $115,649 per year

Primary duties: PACU nurses specialize in caring for patients post-surgery. This could include monitoring a patient for a few hours or a few weeks, depending on the recommended recovery time. During the post-surgery phase, PACU nurses monitor vitals, check wounds and administer medications to aid healing, and reduce pain. They assist the patient with their mobility and encourage the patient and their loved ones. PACU nurses also help patients prepare for discharge from the hospital and give them care tips for when they're home.

Registered nurse - ICU

National average salary: $129,598 per year

Primary duties: ICU nurses care for critically ill or injured patients in the intensive care unit. To become an ICU nurse, individuals usually need a few years of experience as an RN in a related area like ER or trauma units. On an average day, ICU nurses check vital signs and make sure equipment like ventilators work effectively. ICU nurses also have a responsibility to provide emotional support to their patient's loved ones throughout the recovery process. Once a patient recovers, ICU nurses arrange plans to transfer them to other units for further observation and discharge.

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