A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) cares for sick, injured, disabled and convalescent people in public and private hospitals, nursing homes, medical centers, residential/ home health settings or other healthcare facility under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse or Physician. A Licensed Practical Nurse is more qualified and holds more responsibilities than a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), but is not as qualified as a Registered Nurse (RN).
For many people, becoming a Registered Nurse is not possible due to financial and/or time constraints. A career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (also known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse – LVN in California and Texas, and a Registered Practical Nurse – RPN in Ontario and Quebec, Canada) is an excellent opportunity to get into nursing without having to commit to three or four years of studying. Many Licensed Practical Nurses continue with their studies and eventually become Registered Nurses. Others choose to continue in a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse and can progress to more senior LPN positions.
Due to the critical importance of working in the healthcare industry, teamwork is essential. From the top down everyone is responsible (either directly or indirectly) for ensuring that the patient’s needs are met with the highest standard of professionalism.
To become a successful Licensed Practical Nurse you will need to take pride in your work, have a caring nature and an ability to deal with stressful situations. It is also essential to follow orders and advice from senior staff, and work well under supervision. As a Licensed Practical Nurse is not as qualified as a Registered Nurse (RN), LPNs are limited in the medical duties they can perform. However, the nature of the work carried out by LPNs varies by state and job setting. LPNs are responsible for a wide variety of patients with various levels of acuity, and in Canada for example, RPNs & LPNs have a greater scope of practice and are responsible for decision making for their clients, depending on the health of the patient and the complexity of the medical condition.
Some of the duties of an LPN may include:
Advantages of working as an LPN:
Education: To become Qualified as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), sometimes known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), you need to pass a state-approved program (required in most states). LPN programs usually last one/two years and are available in many Private Nursing Schools, Vocational Colleges, Technical Colleges and Community Schools. Subjects taught in typical LPN programs include Medications, Anatomy and Physiology, Practical Patient Care, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Safe Effective Care Environment.
All LPNs are then required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for vocational / practical nurses (NCLEX-PN) – Check with the board of nursing where you are seeking licensure for any additional requirements. The NCLEX-PN is a computerized adaptive test (CAT) developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), and available throughout the United States. It tests a candidates knowledge, skill and ability to carry out essential safe and effective practices of nursing at the entry-level.
In Canada, the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) is the test used by most provinces for LPN / RPN registration. This multiple choice test consists of 180 – 200 questions over a four-hour period. You must complete an approved practical nursing course before sitting this exam.
Salaries: Licensed Practical Nurses can earn salaries of between $20,000 and $60,000 depending on experience, industry and location. Hospitals often offer additional benefits and bonuses. A Licensed Practical Nurse working for a Travel Nurse Company can receive accommodation or an accommodation allowance in addition to his/her salary.
Preview different types of positions: Search and review the different types of Nursing Jobs & Health Care Jobs posted on our jobsite, for an idea of the duties and responsibilities, education/skills required, salary and benefits associated with Health Care related, Medical & Nursing jobs in USA.
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Below is a list of some of the various types of medical nurses / assistant nurses:
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