Licensed practical nurses are trained to perform the most basic of health care duties. They often provide assistance to physicians and registered nurses in taking care of patients and other duties as needed.
What to Expect
LPN careers consist of a number of duties and responsibilities. They are charged with the basic care of patients such as monitoring and tracking conditions and bedside care.
The exact duties of the LPN and the vocational nurses differ state to state according to regulations and guidelines. Healthcare facilities will also have their own differing guidelines and protocols dictating what those in LPN careers can and cannot do.
The most basic of tasks that LPN careers provide are;
- Recording patient’s vital signs
- Track weight, height, and temperature
- Take patients’ blood pressure
- Dress wounds
- Give enemas
- Prepare injections
- Assist in bathing and dressing of patients
LPN careers are fast paced and those seeking employment with a healthcare facility would do well to understand that. For the most part, LPNs are doing the most basic of duties under the instruction and supervision of more experienced and trained professionals.
LPN careers also cover a range of clerical and administrative duties such as filing, appointment setting, and bill payments. In certain states LPNs are given the leave to perform additional duties. They can start IVs and care for patients that are dependent upon ventilators
The need for LPNs continues to grow and as the healthcare field is changing so too are the duties of these nurses. Many states have different regulations on what LPNs can do. Some states allow those in LPN careers to perform more tests and even procedures while others do not.
Education, Training, and Certification
Those wishing to enter into LPN careers will find that they must be licensed to practice. The LPN training program is offered by many state colleges and vocational schools. The programs last about one year and cover both coursework and laboratory settings.
During classroom studies students seeking LPN careers will study;
- First aid
LPN students will study other coursework as needed and deemed necessary. Clinical and laboratory studies take place in hospitals or other similar settings. They are introduced to common procedures, tools, and equipment.
The National Council Licensure Examination is required for everyone that wants to enter into LPN careers. Each state will have their own specific licensing and education requirements.
LPN careers also require certain character and personality traits. Candidates for LPN careers should be;
- Emotionally stable
- Able to work well with others
- Able to follow directions and instructions
- Capable of making sound and competent decisions
- Energetic and outgoing
Licensed and qualified LPNs can be found in nearly every healthcare industry. They are a valuable member of the healthcare team as they provide services that free up doctor and registered nurses so they may perform other pressing matters.
LPN careers can be found in hospitals, clinics, private physician offices, nursing homes, and outpatient care centers.
LPN careers promises to see continued growth. This is because LPNs leave the career path through advancements or opting for other careers and for the increased demand for healthcare.
The increase in the elderly population over the next decade will mean that healthcare facilities and institutions will continue to require trained and skilled LPNs and vocational nurses. Those LPNs who want to work with the elderly through assisted living facilities or private resident care will find that there will be ample opportunities for employment.
Hospitals will continue to require the assistance of LPNs who perform critical duties and clerical work.
The average annual income for LPN careers hover around $33,000. With additional experience, certification, and education LPNs can earn more.
The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"