LPN refers to Licensed Practical Nurse, one of the entry level practitioner qualifications to the nursing vocation, whereas RN refers to Registered Nurse, which is widely considered to the qualification that makes one a ‘professional nurse’ capable of making major nursing decisions in a healthcare setting. Put another way, the Registered Nurse’s position is a decision making position in the nursing system, whereas the Licensed Practical Nurse position is a decision-implementation position in the nursing system.
Although there are practitioners who enter into the nursing vocation directly as registered nurses, a majority of would-be professional nurses start out as Licensed Practical Nurses (wherever the qualification is accepted), before moving to climb higher onto the nursing career through programs like the increasingly popular online LPN to RN bridge.
At its core, then, the LPN to RN Bridge is basically an instructional system, through which any ambitious Licensed Practical Nurse can get to upgrade to being a Registered Nurse (basically building on the skills they already have by virtue of their Practical Nurse Licensing, and adding onto them the professional skills they need to become Registered Nurses).
In a way of speaking, then, the LPN to RN Bridge can be seen as the bridge through which a nurse gets to move from being basically a ‘manual worker’ in the healthcare system, and into being a professional ‘knowledge worker’ in the same healthcare system. Although there are some places in which Registered Nurses get directly involved in the physical aspects of patient care (which can be a vocationally rewarding undertaking anyway), but for the most part, the Registered Nurse is a ‘nursing supervisor’ of sorts, who is supposed to use her (or his) advanced nursing training to make the major nursing decisions, which are supposed to be physically implemented by lower cadres like the Licensed Practical Nurses.
Online learning, on the other hand, has found easy application in Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse bridges for a number of reasons. The first of these, of course, is the fact that Licensed Practical Nurses seeking to upgrade into Registered Nurses are typically already working in the nursing field, so that getting a place for them to do the practical aspects of Registered Nursing training is not really hard. Getting a place for Registered Nurse practical training (as all nursing training is made up of both theoretical and practical modules) can be tricky in most cases where the students does not have a place to do the practical modules, but in the case of LPN to RN bridge training, this tends not to be too much of a problem, as the LPN is typically already practicing.
The nursing practitioner who opts for the online LPN to RN bridge, of course, has a chance to move up their career ladder with lower monetary investments (as the online LPN to RN bridge is typically cheaper than LPN to RN programs run in brick and mortar nursing schools). Of course, this is in addition to the fact that the online LPN to RN bridge does not require for the nursing practitioner to get separated from their family (as they can learn at home during ‘after-work’ hours), which is unlike the probable case with brick and mortar school run LPN to RN bridge programs, that typically require study travel and separation from family.