1. Loper, Carey LPN

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As a new LPN (nine months), I was infuriated by some of the letters posted by fellow AJN readers in the November 2006 issue ("LPNs and the Nursing Shortage," Letters). I did not become an LPN because I was "incapable of handling the rigors of higher education" or "underprepared educationally, [had] financial restrictions or language barriers, and lack[ed] self-confidence." The idea that "we made our mistake when we called LPNs 'nurses' in the first place" makes me sick to my stomach. I am fortunate enough to work at an institution that values LPNs as part of the greater health care system. I work with RNs and certified nursing assistants on a medical-surgical unit of a large hospital. We all know our place in the nursing food chain and use our skills to benefit the whole.


Many of the LPNs I work with are military spouses who, like me, have to take our education in bits and pieces as we travel the country and the world supporting our spouses, who defend the freedom other AJN readers have to denounce LPNs as not being professional nurses. My professional goal is to continue my education to become an RN, obtain a bachelor of science in nursing, and ultimately to become an NP. I also "strongly support a ladder mechanism for moving up in nursing education." Have we forgotten the teachings of Florence Nightingale, who took simple women to care for the wounded during the Crimean War? How can we forget the 38 volunteer nurses who helped Nightingale change the conditions in army hospitals-volunteers with little or no formal education who helped build the foundation we nurses stand on today? LPNs are not "shortcuts and Band-Aids." We do not claim "to know things that [we] don't"; we simply use our education to continue the Nightingale legacy.


Carey Loper, LPN


Newport News, VA