LPN to Registered Nurse and What it Takes

Debra Riley


Following on from previous articles, this is another submission for the scholarship program.

“I have been an LPN since 1982 and worked on a medical-surgical floor in a hospital for my first job. After leaving the hospital, I ventured out to the field of dermatology in a medical office and was the only nurse on staff. This position left me wanting more out of working as a nurse as I had a desire to make a difference in people’s lives.

Eventually I settled into long term care. Being a single mom that worked most weekends and holidays was always challenging, but we made it work. My co-workers were comfortable with this lifestyle and thought nothing of it. This position was physically, mentally, and emotionally draining, but it fulfilled every need that I felt being a nurse was all about.

Return to Education

After many years of working as an LPN, I started to consider returning to school to complete my RN. It was not going to be an easy task with a full-time job and two small children. But I also knew that RN Salaries are substantially more than those for a LPN.

The facility that I was working in created a position of Clinical Liaison and to my surprise offered it to me. This was initially out of my comfort zone, but I considered giving it a try.

Working Monday through Friday and wearing business casual clothes was a change from previous years of scrubs. Each day was spent traveling to hospitals to meet with RN Case Managers and Social Workers. I initially hesitated with this new position because there would be no patient care or much patient contact in the context that I had worked in and worried about missing the hands-on nursing approach, so I thought.


When patients were scheduled for discharge and needed rehab or placement in a long-term care facility, my role would begin. All my previous years of nursing care did not go to waste as feared. This new position allowed me to continue to display compassion and looking out for the patient’s best interest. The family members required therapeutic communication as well.

As I reflected on this new nursing role, I realized that nursing skills was very much a part of the job description, especially for me. Continued education with knowledge of medications and medical treatments was necessary for me to be familiar with because the patient and family members were dependent on me to answer their many questions.

Patient teaching was a must not only for the patient, but for the family. The relationship would begin in the hospital and continue after admission into the facility. I always made sure to check in and follow up with the patient after the transfer to ensure that the transition was smooth, without problems and feel free to report any concerns or issues to me. Being employed at the facility many years had provided me the availability to notify any staff within the interdisciplinary team necessary in order to help solve problems.

The experience acquired in the Clinical Liaison position gave me a complete insight with what to expect when a patient is preparing for an upcoming discharge and needs assistance for going home or being placed in a facility for short term or long-term care.


My mother was a patient in the hospital and needed to be transferred to a rehab center. I experienced the position of being the family member feeling helpless and overwhelmed with the situation and decision making. The compassion and caring attitudes of the RN Case Manager and the Social Worker made a definite difference in easing my own stress of overseeing every decision. This was also a learning experience for me as I now know what the children of elderly parents go through with their own feelings.

After I lost my mom is when I decided to finish the remainder of my prerequisites at a community college and transfer into RN school. I was hesitant at first, but my grades and GPA have stayed above average. The many years of being an LPN has given me the experience needed to be a compassionate and caring nurse.

The theory portion of everything is different and necessary to review and learn while approaching my new journey. I find my medical-surgical theory class fascinating because the pathology of disorders is not taught in LPN school. The ‘Why’ is the basis of nursing school for me now and I love learning it.

Returning to the community college followed by acceptance to nursing school at my age has been a positive experience for me. It has not been easy, but it will truly have been worked hard for and earned. Encouragement and inspiration have been everywhere and from everyone. If I could provide enough encouragement and incentive for other LPN’s wanting to return for their RN I would, but I understand that schedules and finances may hinder their decision.

If it is felt in your heart that is what you desire, an opportunity will be provided for your dreams to happen. I feel proud to not only be accomplishing my dream, but to be living proof that it is never too late to follow your dreams and not let your age stand in your way.

My sons are now grown and very proud of me. The experience with my mom was all the encouragement that was needed to boost me to be a RN for providing compassion and caring to others needing assistance with care when they leave the hospital.

The Future

Looking forward to a position as a RN Case Manager in the hospital and getting to know the Clinical Liaisons in the several long-term care facilities. This would make for improved communication and a smoother transition for the patients requiring transfers with providing them opportunities for better outcomes.

Thank you for the opportunity to write this essay and reflect my thoughts of where I have been and what I hope to accomplish. My plan is to continue the inspiration for those LPN’s with the same dream.”

Another great article and an inspiring story! Have you had a look at our blog section lately? We have added a number of different articles like – The Best Places to Study and Nurse Symbols – both very different but I hope interesting. See our guide on further training opportunities for nurses – some ideas on how to move your career foward.

Perhaps something a little more deep and meaningful – the philosophy of nursing? Then what about some education resources – CRNA Schools by State. There is something for everyone so please have a look around!