Advancing from CNA to LPN

Training as a CNA can open the door to other career opportunities with greater earning potential. With the shortage of nursing instructors, it is more difficult to get into nursing school these days. Often one of the requirements for nurse training, or an advantage that can help open the door to advancement is to have training and experience as a CNA first.

As a CNA, one experiences not only routine patient care, but also the clinical setting as a whole. Facilities are much less likely to hire a newly trained LPN who has never had actual care experience than one who has operated in a clinical setting as a CNA. According to statistics, the LPN also has a greater success rate if he or she has prior exposure as a CNA.

After several months or a year of clinical experience, the CNA has a better idea of whether or not a nursing career is desireable. The next logical step is the one year LPN program.

An LPN, in certain circumstances, might be performing the same routine as a CNA, but because he or she has a better understanding of treating a patient, and the potential of performing tasks outside the scope of the CNA’s practice, the LPN will be paid more for the same work.

LPNs are often hired as medication nurses because their training provides them with training in pharmaceutical medications. Their primary role will be ensuring the patients receive their medications on schedule.

An LPN may perform duties that an RN doesn’t have time to do, and may be outside the scope of practice of a CNA such as wound dressing, inserting catheters, and starting intravenous fluids.

Often CNAs can find online programs that will allow them to continue to work as a CNA while training as an LPN. This would consist of online courses via the Internet, and scheduled clinical training at local facilities. At the end of the studies, the CNA would take the NCLEX-PN examination in order to be licensed as a practical nurse.

LPN coursework can contain, but is not limited to, biology, chemistry, anatomy, psychology, emergency medical technology, first aid, physical education, foods and nutrition, and child growth and development. These subjects go beyond the training of a CNA, so one can see the potential for working in areas not open to the CNA.

While the CNA earning potential is between $20,000 and $30,000, the LPN salary usually begins around $31,000 and in certain settings can run as high as $58,000.