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What is the difference between a nurse and a registered nurse?

VCristina, for a Nurse slash Educator youre one ignorant and arrogant individual. Of COURSE LPNs/LVNs are taught rationales for the actions they take! Of COURSE theyre taught how to do things. Critical thinking isnt the exclusive property of RNs. To suggest they are mindless automatons waiting to be told what to do is insufferable! Your unnecessarily derogatory answer disgusts me. To answer the first question, the difference between nurse and Registered Nurse is the same as the difference between a fish and a trout. Both are fish - both are nurses. But one is a general term and the other a specific title. Thats the difference. To answer the second question, there are two kinds of nurses in the U.S. Registered and Practical/Vocational. Completing a program in Registered Nursing will earn you a degree, either a 2-year Associate degree of Nursing (ADN) or 4-year Bachelor degree of Nursing Science (BSN). After completing an accredited program, if you pass the licensing exam in your state (NCLEX-RN, this is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing), then you are given a nurse license to practice. Well, not exactly given, you do pay a fee for the license on top of the exam fee. Most states use the name Practical and Texas and California use Vocational but for this answer Ill use LPN although what I write applies to both because they are the same thing! Although an individual completing an LPN program can go on to earn a degree, it may not be in Nursing although there are programs that offer Asociate degrees in Vocational Nursing (Vocational Nursing Associate of Science). The accredited programs are typically Diploma or Certificate. Once completed, youre a candidate for the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-VN, depending on where you live. Once you pass, you pay your fee and your license is mailed. Only when a PN is Licensed can he/she call him or herself Licensed. Sort of obvious, I know. Two years after being newly licensed, both RNs and PNs must complete 30 hours of Continuing Education hours every 2 years in order to renew the license. The CEs are exactly the same for both disciplines, there are no CEs just for one or the other. Ive worked with a very few RNs with no evident critical thinking skills, shamefully incompetent, forgot everything after the NCLEX and Ive worked with very knowledgeable and capable LPNs with whom Id be proud to work any time. The main differences between RNs and LPNs/LVNs is in the education. RNs have a longer program that goes deeper into Nursing, an expanded set of skills and duties, are expected to do more critical thinking, have more options for specialization, the program emphasizes leadership and, therefore, have a wider scope of practice. Scope of practice is determined by each state. As well, the prerequisites for both programs may have some differences and these seem to vary from one state to another.

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