How to Become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Around the country there are millions of patients in a variety of health care facilities that need excellent nursing care. Under the supervision of registered nurses or doctors, LPNs, formally called licensed practical nurses care for patients who are ill, injured, disabled, or recovering from medical treatment.

What does a LPN do?

Licensed practical nurses care for patients in a variety of ways including basic bedside care, measuring and recording vital signs (weight, height, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, and temperature), and administering medications. They prepare and administer shots and injections, dress wounds, monitor catheters, give enemas, and give massages. They also help patients with activities such as walking, eating, bathing, and dressing. LPNs are also responsible for monitoring patients and making note of reactions to treatments or medications. They collect samples, record food and liquid intake and output, and perform routine laboratory tests. They also monitor and sanitize medical equipment and help registered nurses and doctors perform procedures and tests. They often educate family members on how to care for patients when they leave the medical facility.

What kind of training does a LPN need?

LPNs typically need formal practical nurse training, which is offered by many community and junior colleges and technical and vocational schools. Some high schools, colleges and universities, and hospitals also offer practical nursing training programs. Most programs include classroom instruction and supervised clinical practice. Classroom coursework includes basic nursing concepts on patient care, anatomy, physiology, pediatrics, medical surgical nursing, obstetrics, psychiatric nursing, and first aid, nutrition, and the administration of medication. Clinical practice usually takes place in hospitals, clinics, or other health care settings.

As is obvious due to their jobtitle, all states require licensed practical nurses to be licensed. The licensing requirements are usually completing an approved practical nursing program and passing the NCLEX-PN examination.

What are the prospects for a career as a LPN?

Employment of LPNs is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% through 2016. Population growth, an aging population, and increase in health care services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are projected to be very good especially in nursing care and home health care positions. Job opportunities will also occur from the need to replace LPNs that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do LPNs make?

Currently, the middle 50% of LPNs earned annual salaries between $36,033 and $43,420. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $46,826.

A career as a LPN Licensed Practical Nurse is a great choice for individuals who wish to care for patients in a variety of settings. LPNs should be caring, sympathetic, and have great bedside manner. Great communication, good judgment and decision-making, and excellent observation are essential. They must be emotionally stable and be able to work well under pressure and in stressful and dangerous situations. LPNs must be able to effectively work as part of a team and follow directions.

Becoming an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) Requires Training

Are you serious about becoming an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Also, check out our list of the 10 top nursing schools & best nursing colleges. If you already have a nursing degree, find out what to do with a nursing degree and what kind of jobs you can get after you’ve graduated from nursing school. Check out our list of the best paying nursing jobs if you’re still not sure you want to be a nurse!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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