Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide patient care under the close supervision of a registered nurse (RN), physician, or dentist. As part of a healthcare team, you must be able to both use your own judgment and follow orders..
Description of the daily work:
You use your judgment based on preparation, knowledge, skills, understanding, past experiences in nursing situations, and additional nursing career resources. A significant amount of direct patient care in health care facilities is provided by LPNs. This includes evaluating patients’ needs, changing dressings, implementing care plans, taking vital signs, observing patients and collecting specimens for laboratory tests. It may also include assembling and using equipment such as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, oxygen supplies, and starting and checking on intravenous (IV) equipment. LPNs in outpatient or private physician office settings may have additional responsibilities such as giving injections, making appointments, keeping records, performing other clerical duties, and overseeing the medical assistant staff. Experienced LPNs in nursing care facilities may supervise nursing assistants and aides. If you work in a private home, you may prepare meals and teach family members simple nursing tasks.
LPNs can work in many different components of the health care delivery system, including: clinics, the community and home, extended care facilities, hospitals, occupational health, nursing homes, private doctors’ offices, rehabilitation centers and schools. If you work in a hospital or nursing care facility, you typically work a 40-hour week. Some LPNs work nights, weekends, and holidays since patients need around-the-clock care.
You will need physical strength and stamina, compassion, self-confidence, good judgment and decision-making skills to be a LPN. You often stand for long periods of time and help patients move in bed, stand, or walk. Working with sick and injured patients can be stressful so it is important to in good mental health.
Education Requirements, Licensure/Certification:
In High School you should concentrate on your math and science in order to prepare you for completing an LPN program. Completing an LPN program will take 12 to 18 months depending on whether you are attending a full time or part-time program. During the program you will also complete clinical rotations to expose you to the various types of health care settings and apply the theory you are leaning in an academic setting.
Upon successful completion of an LPN program, you are eligible to take the National Licensure examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Completing a program and passing the exam allows you to obtain employment as an LPN or to continue your studies toward an Associates degree as a Registered Nurse, Medical Support Specialist or other related field of study.
As an LPN, you can earn $15,000 to $33,000 with the average salary falling in the low $20,000’s. Large metropolitan hospitals tend to pay more than nursing homes, and if you have more experience you will receive a higher salary. The hourly range for LPNs range from $16.00
Career Path and/or Opportunities for Growth:
LPNs are needed in long term care, acute care, and ambulatory and health center environments. In particular, significant growth is expected in community and home health nursing. More patients will require nurses to help them at home as insurance companies dictate shorter hospital stays.
Hospitals often offer opportunities for LPNs to advance to positions as special procedures nurses and in critical care settings. One of the most common advancements LPNs make is to a registered nurse role, which requires a 2 or 4 year degree. In fact many community colleges and 4 year nursing programs are geared toward the experienced LPN obtaining more education to become a nurse.