Nursing assistants do just that. They assist the nurse. They have limited responsibilities and perform tasks under the nurses supervision. They are responsible for assisting the patient with their activities of daily living including bathing, mobility and eating. They take vital signs and chart them in the appropriate place.
The training for a nursing assistant consists of several weeks of training. Once they complete that training they become certified and are Certified Nursing Assistants.
An LPN is a licensed nurse. In some areas they are licensed practical nurses and in others licensed vocational nurses. They undergo one year of training and are then qualified to take the state licensing examination.
Their training includes classroom study and clinical practice. The test includes written examination and practical examination as well.
With these basic differences acknowledged, it is also important to note that there can be a significant difference in salary. A licensed practical nurse traditionally receives a salary that is about one third less than that of a Registered Nurse. A nursing assistant will receive a lower salary.
A nursing assistant works under an licensed practical nurse, and is much more limited in the duties that can be performed. Their primary responsibilities are the activities of daily living and changing the patients bed. During that process, vital signs are taken. A licensed practical nurse has more responsibility related to direct patient care. She will do an evaluation of the patient at the beginning of the shift and is licensed to administer medications in most states. She will also chart patient status and evaluation of their condition.
There is always a need for nursing assistants. It is a rewarding position and is often a stepping stone to higher levels in the health care field. Many hospitals, trusts and other organizations will assist the nursing assistant towards furthering their education, if this is their wish.
LPNs are also in need in the health care field. The need varies from time to time and location to location. They will usually not have a difficult time finding a position. Here again, if they choose to further their career in the health care field, many hospitals or other organizations will assist with funding their education.
Both of these jobs are vital to the administration of good patient care. Whether in a hospital setting or in the home health areas. Nursing assistants are often called upon to be sitters with patients who are incapacitated and cannot perform their activities of daily living. Even in this case, however, they are not legally allowed to administer medications.
An LPN that is employed to care of someone in their home can administer medications and can be responsible for total patient care in that situation.
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