Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Degree Information
Students wishing to pursue a earn a degree as a licensed practical nurse are expected to have earned at least a high school diploma and would be expected to follow that up with a practical nursing program which would have to be approved by the Board of Nursing. Earning certification as a licensed practical nurse also opens the possibility of becoming a registered nurse in the future.
Becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN)
The career path of a licensed practical nurse is so attractive to so many people because of the fast-paced educational requirements. To become a licensed practical nurse you will need to complete a one-year certification process.
LPN programs are most commonly available through community colleges and technical schools. The programs incorporate a combination of coursework and on-the-job training. During a licensed practical nursing program, students can expect to take classes in psychology, pharmacology and biology as well as receive clinical supervision. The exact course requirements for licensed practical nursing often vary based on state requirements.
Following the completion of coursework and clinical supervision, you will need to pass a certification examination to become a licensed practical nurse.
In addition to completing the above educational requirements, there are a number of personal attributes that are beneficial to have as a licensed practical nurse. While it isn’t necessarily a requirement of the profession to display these characteristics, they are extremely beneficial towards the advancement of a LPN career. Personal attributes commonly found in licensed practical nurses include:
- Detail oriented
- Good listening and speaking skills
There are many other forms of nursing outside of being a licensed practical nurse. In fact, many LPNs work under the direct supervision of a general nurse if not a physician. After gaining experience in the nursing field, many licensed practical nurses pursue further schooling to become registered nurses, which opens the door to further work opportunities in the medical field.
A licensed practical nurse completes tasks like taking temperatures, obtaining tissue samples, changing catheters and other basic tasks. As a LPN, you should expect to be in constant contact with patients. You will be talking to them and offering company as you perform your nursing duties. Many LPNs are directed to talk with patients about their symptoms and communicate that information to the physician or general nurse on duty.
Where do licensed practical nurses work?
Licensed practical nurses have many options when it comes to working environments. Many LPNs work in doctors’ offices, hospital settings or in-home care. In-home care is one of the most popular work environments for LPNs, as elderly individuals are often in need of basic services that a LPN can assist with. Thirty percent of LPNs work in nursing care facilities.
The typical day of a licensed practical nurse
Licensed practical nurses are on their feet all day. This is a fast-paced career in a perpetually moving work environment. Many LPNs will spend their entire day walking, standing and assisting with patient care, and will not sit throughout their entire shift. This is why sneakers are a staple to the LPN uniform. Like those in other medical professions, licensed practical nurses wear scrubs. These are drawstring, flexible pants with a v-neck shirt that is comfortable and easy to move in. Scrubs are unique to medical professions, but help make the job requirements of nursing more comfortable.
In 2010 the median annual wage of a licensed practical nurse was $40,380, though salaries range between $29,000 and $56,000 annually depending on the workplace, cost of living and experience level. One-fourth of licensed practical nurses opt to pursue part-time work that better fits their personal schedule, and this contributes to reduced annual pay.
Licensed Practical Nursing FAQ
How long does it take to become a licensed practical nurse?
The educational requirements to become a licensed practical nurse take one year to complete, followed by a certification exam. Many licensed practical nursing programs are flexible and allow students to complete their coursework part time. This would lengthen the amount of time it takes to complete the certification program. Following the one year program you will be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). This certification exam is distributed by each state. Where do licensed practical nurses work?
Licensed practical nurses benefit from having flexible schedules that often include nights and weekends, and can work in a variety of environments. The most common workplaces for LPNs are:
- Physician’s offices
- In-home care
- Nursing facilities
What do licensed practical nurses do?
Licensed practical nurses answer directly to doctors and registered nurses. The typical job duties of a licensed practical nurse include:
- Gathering patient medical information
- Taking temperatures
- Measuring blood pressure
- Placing catheters
- Assist with feeding
- Supervise nursing aids