The Importance of Licensed Practical Nurses

May 1, 2024

The month of May is nationally recognized as National Nurses Month, marking Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12. Here at Visiting Nurse Carroll County Home Care & Hospice (VNHCH), we celebrate the invaluable contributions of nurses here in our community, recognizing their tireless dedication to providing quality healthcare. This year, we highlight the indispensable roles of both Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) in the healthcare continuum, particularly within home care agencies.

What’s the difference between LPNs and RNs?

LPNs and RNs are both integral members of the nursing profession, each playing distinct yet complementary roles in patient care. LPNs undergo rigorous training and education to provide basic nursing care under the supervision of RNs or providers. Their responsibilities often include administering medications, dressing wounds, monitoring patients’ vital signs, and providing emotional support to patients and their families.

While the roles of LPNs and RNs may differ in scope, both are indispensable assets within home care agencies. LPNs often serve as the frontline caregivers, delivering compassionate and personalized care to individuals in the comfort of their homes. Their expertise in administering medications and monitoring patients’ health status ensures continuity of care and promotes overall well-being. Additionally, LPNs frequently act as liaisons between patients, families, and other healthcare professionals, fostering effective communication and collaboration.

What does an LPN do?

VNHCH currently employs two LPNs, Sherry Ragone, LPN and Tamara Sayers, LPN. Sherry recently described what a “day in the life” of an LPN is like. She explained, “I go into the home and assess the patients. I take their vital signs, talk to them and teach them about their new diagnosis. Then I do wound care if needed. I take care of lab draws. I handle ostomies and wound vacs. LPNs can do much of what an RN can do except admitting and discharging patients.”

Sherry enjoys working as an LPN for a home care agency as the nature of her work is more personal. “I like the home care setting. I’m not supervising 60 patients like at a long-term care facility  – it’s more one one-on-one care. The difference is you get to see people recover, and learn who they are. You spend time with them and really see what they need and what would best help them.  I like the whole team (at VNHCH). I feel very privileged to work there.  All the nursing, office staff, admin … we work as a team.”

What education does an LPN require?

Sherry explained that working as an LPN is a great place to get started in a nursing career. Her course of study for her LPN required classes five days a week for 14 months. Sherry continued, “An RN program is longer and more expensive. So an LPN is a great alternative. Things are changing too. Because of the current nursing shortage, organizations are hiring LPNs and they’ll help pay to finish off their RN degree.”  VNHCH offers employees tuition reimbursement, another way of supporting staff who wish to further their career.

Another nursing career pathway starts as a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), before studying to become an LPN.  Sherry worked as an LNA earlier in her career, as did VNHCH’s other LPN, Tamara Sayers. Tamara was the recipient of VNHCH’s 2023 Kathleen Sheehan Memorial Scholarship which supports students studying in an accredited health-related field of study program with a focus on nursing. That scholarship is taking applications for 2024 through May 30. Go to to apply. 

Tamara served as LNA for the agency for 15 years and recently completed her nursing degree at White Mountain Community College (WMCC) to become an LPN. She became interested in pursuing a nursing degree when Sarah Baillargeon MSN, RN, Nursing Program Coordinator from  WMCC visited the VNHCH offices and talked about their LPN program. This program makes it possible for students to work and go to school. That’s the path Tamara took, and today she is part of the nursing team at VNHCH.

Their nursing team has LPNs working closely alongside RNs, forming cohesive care teams that leverage the strengths of each profession to deliver patient-centered care. RNs provide case management, guidance, and specialized interventions, while LPNs offer hands-on assistance and support.

As we honor Nurses Month 2024, it is imperative to recognize the invaluable contributions of LPNs in home care. Their dedication, expertise and unwavering commitment to patient well-being exemplify the essence of nursing excellence. Home care agencies across the nation acknowledge and appreciate the vital role that LPNs play in enhancing the quality of life for countless individuals and families.

This Nurses Month, let us celebrate the remarkable achievements of all nurses, including LPNs and RNs, as they continue to uphold the highest standards of care and compassion in every setting they serve.

For more information on nursing career opportunities with VNHCH, go to: or call 603-356-7006.