Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Program
If you are looking for a rewarding career, you may enjoy working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs provide patient care in different medical facilities such as doctor’s offices, long-term care facilities, and also acute care hospitals. Also, for those of you who do not want to attend a lengthy nursing program, the LPN program usually takes only one year to complete.
Educational Requirements for a LPN Program
To be able to enroll in an LPN nursing program, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. It is important to receive good grades throughout high school, especially in courses such as biology, chemistry, and math. Though not required, it is recommended that you have computer skills as many facilities keep patient records electronically.
Most LPN programs typically last for about 12 months, and upon graduation, the student must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). After successful completion of the program and exam, the nurse can then use the title of “LPN.”
Licensed Practical Nurse Program Courses
There are many different facilities that offer LPN programs such as vocational schools, junior colleges, hospitals, community colleges, and technical schools. Most states require that students participate in both in classroom and clinical learning. The courses offered by most programs include medical terminology, first aid, basic nursing skills, and pharmacology.
Because the scope of the job requires hands-on training, there are not many courses that are offered online. The skills acquired come from the practice you will receive from the clinical training. However, some institutions do allow you to take some classes online.
Job Duties of the Licensed Practical Nurse
The duties of the LPN job differ from location to location, as the state law regulates the scope of work that practical nurses can perform. Often called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), these nurses provide hands-on care. LPNs work under doctors and also registered nurses. Typical job duties include administering medications, taking vital signs, monitoring the patient assessment, administering tube feedings, wound care, providing basic hygiene needs, and assisting with tests and procedures.
Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries and Career Opportunities
There is a positive job outlook for LPNs, and many facilities offer a sign-on bonus for those willing to commit to a contract. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there will be a 22% increase in the need for LPNs and LVNs by 2020. According to most web sources, the salary for this profession sits at a median yearly wage of $40,000, but with years of experience, some LPNs earn as much as $55,000 annually. Salary depends on years of experience, area of practice, city and state where you work, and place of employment.
LPNs can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, physician offices, home healthcare agencies, insurance companies, educational institutes, health departments, and community health clinics. Many LPNs also work contract jobs, serving as private duty and agency nurses. To find out more about this profession, visit the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses website.