If you want to start your career in nursing but are not sure how – then LPN or Practical Nursing could be your safest route. With basic patient care activities, you will be familiar with the role, and the fast-paced, demanding world of nursing.
To make sure you (LPNs) do well, the experienced RNs and Doctors supervise you thereby guiding you in your every footstep. This makes the role easier, knowing you have mentors all around. Isn’t it fascinating?
So, we have compiled all the information regarding Practical Nursing. In this article, we will guide you through the course overview, the roles and responsibilities, the skills required to succeed in this role, the salary data, career advancement opportunities, and much more.
Let’s explore –
What is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?
An LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse, is an entry-level nursing professional with a certificate in the LPN program and has passed the national exam – NCLEX-PN, thereby earning a license to practice.
As an LPN, you will be working under the supervision of the RNs and the Physicians, providing basic and specialized medical care to patients in a variety of healthcare settings. Post-experience, you will be the same guiding light to the CNAs, and certified nurse assistants.
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|Course Duration||1-2 Years|
|Course Cost||$4,000 or $15,000|
|License||National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN)|
|Job Forecast||Grow by 9 % from 2019 to 2029 *BLS|
Not two courses might be similar but overall, you will be learning similar topics like –
- Anatomy and physiology
- Early childhood development
- Medical terminology
- Clinical laboratory methods
- Patient care
- Infection control protocols
- Nursing care
- Clinical hours
Is LPN and LVN the same?
Yes. The LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) and the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) are different titles for the same job with a difference, if any, lying in their name.
In fact, most states use the title LPN for practical nurses, though some states use LVN more frequently. California and Texas are the only two states which utilize the LVN title and the remaining 48 United States use LPN for practical nurses.
Roles and Responsibilities
As an LPN, you will work under the supervision of the RNs and the Doctors. Your daily tasks include various responsibilities like –
- Monitoring patients’ health by regularly checking their blood pressure and other vital signs.
- Administer basic medical care by changing bandages and inserting catheters.
- Provide basic comfort care by helping patients go to the washroom, change them, organize them, feed them, deliver medications, etc.
- You must keep detailed records of every patient’s health.
- You are responsible for reporting a patient’s health status to doctors and other providers.
- You must listen to the patient’s concerns and discuss the care you are providing with the patient’s family.
Skills Of a Licensed Practical Nurse
As an LPN you need some basic skills to conduct your job efficiently. The skills are –
Effective Communication Skills
You need effective communication skills to interact with the patients, understand their worries, and then revert to the doctors on their behalf. You need skills to calm down the tense family member or attendant of the patient. Overall, effective communication skills will decide if you are a good nurse or not.
Strong Organizational Skills
Nursing is a fast-paced role and you will be needing to have strong organizational skills in this demanding role. Your multitasking and information management skills will decide the health and welfare of the patient.
Patience, Tolerance, and Empathy
Not everyone can deal with challenges like accompanying the patient, helping them go to the washroom, changing them, organizing them, delivering medications, etc. This job is set to test your patience. You need to be compassionate toward the patient even if they are rude. Your ability to tolerate and make the job done will assure the health and well-being of a patient.
As an LPN you might land a job in any healthcare setting, like –
- Physicians’ offices
- Nursing homes
- Extended care facilities
- Private homes (home health care)
Average Salary of a Practical Nurse – LPN
According to BLS, the annual average salary for an LPN is $57,254. However, the salary data might vary in some states, where you might earn more or less than the average salary. Below is the list of states and salary data where you may earn more than the average salary –
Annual Average Salary: $62,056
Annual Average Salary: $61,550
Annual Average Salary: $61,272
Annual Average Salary: $60,765
Annual Average Salary: $58,883
Annual Average Salary: $58,600
Annual Average Salary: $58,032
Annual Average Salary: $57,878
Career Advancement Opportunity
As an LPN you also have many opportunities to advance your career by enrolling in certification programs. The programs are –
- Patient counseling certification
- Intravenous (IV) therapy certification
- Advanced life support certification
- Long-term and hospice care certification
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training
Also, you can go after other traditional degree options like –
- LPN to ASN
- LPN to BSN Bridge option
Pros and Cons of Being an LPN
Like any degree or certificate program course, there are some pros and cons of an LPN program as well. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of being a Practical Nursing –
|Shorter Training Period Than RNs||Not much earning potential|
|Easier to start a job||Less authority – Needs to work under RNs.|
|More affordable than an ADN degree||Fewer specializations|
|Continued demand||Hectic routine, need to take up orders, might lead to burnout|
|Useful Career Experience||No work-life balance, work is more or at par with RNs|
|Career advancement Opportunity||Burnout, Stress – Emotional and physical demands|
How Long Does It Take to Become An LPN?
Most LPN programs take 1 to 2 years to complete but it is your pace that decides the time of completion.
What Is the Starting Salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse?
The starting salary could vary from – $48,070 to $57,254, later is the average salary for LPNs.
Will the LPN vs. LVN title impact my job search and employment eligibility?
No, the HRs understand the issue very well that the titles depend on the state providing you licensure. You don’t have to worry about that.
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