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Monday, November 29, 2021  

Katie Reeves, LPN writes,Published 6/23/2003

"I have been an LPN for 20 years and have been licensed in three states. I chose this avenue rather than a BSN program because I was raising two adolescent children at the time and felt that I had neither the time nor financial resources to embark on a four-year program. As a brand new graduate, I was recruited by a large hospital and started on the same day as a brand new RN graduate from a BSN program.  Imagine my surprise when the RN graduate took me aside after the first week and asked how it was that I knew what I was doing and was doing it confidently! She was the first, but not the last, RN to tell me that what she learned in four years of school had not prepared her for the
real world of nursing.
Katie goes on to write. "Whereas there are surely individuals in the community who possess greater intelligence and experience than I, none of these responsibilities could be better served by an individual simply because she had more years of formal schooling and different letters behind her name. I have worked very hard to establish my reputation and the respect of my superiors and those whom I supervise, and I take considerable umbrage to the multitude of insults and ignorance that LPNs must tolerate."
Katie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. We continue to hear stories, such as Katie’s, and I have to wonder why we continue to tolerate these practices in and around our state. Let’s list some of those practice discussed over the last couple of months: LPN’S are often being utilized as C.N.A.s, businesses do not acknowledge LPNs as professionals or even nurses; many patients refuse to have LPNs care for them because they want a real nurse; LPNs being belittled by RNs; LPNs predominately being utilized in long term care facilities; LPNs not being utilized in hospitals because no one seems to understand their scope of practice; lastly, LPNs being offered insulting wages that are as little as $9.00 per hour.

I can’t stress enough the concerns echoed throughout our communities regarding the critical need of nurses. Why are we using M.A.s and PCTs to fill nursing positions when we have a very large resource pool of nurses (LPNs) not being utilized? As long as we continue to have ladder programs that lead to different nursing degrees we will continue to have disharmony. Unless, we stop now and learn to put our egos to the side and acknowledge ALL nurses, regardless of amount of education, as nurses and as equals.

I challenge each and every one of you to be honest with yourself and explore your feelings regarding the following questions surrounding our profession today:

1. Do you see C.N.A., LPNs, and RNs as colleagues?

2. If your answer is no to #1 above, why?

3. Do you support ladder programs? Why or why not?

4. Do you see LPNs as inferior to RNs? If so, why?

5. Have you ever worked with an LPN that was superior? If so, had that changed your viewpoint regarding LPNs?

6. Does an increase in education make one a better nurse?

7. Does experience make one a better nurse?

8. Why do you suppose you dislike working with C.N.A.s and/or LPNs?

9. What would it take for you to be able to work harmoniously, along side different nursing disciplines?

10. Look inside, what are you feeling about yourself? Would a superior LPN perhaps make you feel inadequate? What if that superior nurse was an RN with the same amount of education as you; would you still feel inadequate?

Part of the problem that I see in this country, and it is not just about nurses, but is a symptom of a much bigger problem, is APATHY. When did we become so angry and disenchanted? Why must we fight to be different instead of everyone accept the fact that we are different? What make us so unique are our differences. How boring this world would be if we all looked the same, acted the same, ate the same, and so on. One of my favorite pastimes is sharing a bottle of wine, or two, with close friends and talking about life. But not just life, but how we think, feel, and deal with life. After a few glasses of wine we really can get into some heavy-duty discussions about all kinds of subjects. And it is so fascinating to hear how people process things and why they think the way they do. We never try to force another to think the same way we do, we just ask clarifying questions in order to understand and accept those differences.

If we each took the time to get to know our neighbors, our colleagues, or even the grocery store clerk, we would learn so much about just being! Whatever happened to tolerance? Do I really have to be like you in order for you to like me? Can’t I be a New Yorker that is very different in my thinking than the Native Coloradoan? Does it make either one of us better? Or perhaps, can we learn from each other? Do we have to make generalizations that all New Yorkers are a certain way? Or if you are from the Deep South a different way? I would much rather think of our great country as one big melting pot with regional differences that offer new ways of being. There is that word again, being.

The next time you are being a certain way, ask yourself this, "Do I expect others to accept me the way I am? If so, why can’t I accept others for the way they are?" If you can get in touch with and understand the fundamental question, pertaining to acceptance, that seems to elude all of us, you will find that you might just achieve a higher level of being within yourself.

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