Registered nurses provide direct care to patients, while licensed practical nurses typically provide assistance to doctors or registered nurses. Licensure as a registered nurse is generally sought after graduation from a 4-year undergraduate nursing program and successful completion of the NCLEX-RN, while Licensed Practical Nurses typically only need to complete a 12-14 month post-high school course and the NCLEX-PN. Licensure as a Registered Nurse is generally a prerequisite both for graduate nursing programs, and for advanced practice or specialty certification.

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