LVN / LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse Career
Licensed Practical Nurse: Are you interested in a personal and rewarding career with excellent employment prospects? For many people, becoming a Registered Nurse is not possible due to financial and/or time constraints. A Licensed Practical Nurse – LPN (also known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse - LVN in California and Texas, and a Registered Practical Nurse - RPN in Ontario and Quebec, Canada), is a healthcare professional who mostly works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or Physician to care for injured, sick, recuperating, or disabled children, adults, the elderly and patients of all ages.
LPNs can work in public and private hospitals, nursing homes, medical centers and home health care settings where they provide essential care to patients by recording vital signs including weight, height, blood pressure, temperature and pulse; monitoring catheters; administering injections and enemas; dressing wounds and much more. Experienced LPNs can also supervise certified nursing assistants /aides (CNAs). The nature of the work carried out by LPNs varies by state and job setting. In Canada, RPNs & LPNs have a greater scope of practice and are responsible for patients with various levels of acuity, they carry out many of the duties of a Registered Nurse (RN) including decision making, depending on the health of the patient and the complexity of their medical condition.
The main duties of a Licensed Practical Nurse may include:
- Providing basic care to patients.
- Recording a Patients vital signs including weight, height, blood pressure, temperature and pulse.
- Monitoring catheters and other medical equipment.
- Bathing and dressing and maintaining a patient’s personal hygiene when the patient is unable to do so.
- Assuring that patients are as comfortable as possible.
- Feeding patients who need help eating.
- Supervising certified nurse assistants.
Where they work: LPN’s work in public and private hospitals, nursing homes, medical centers and residential / home health care settings.
Qualifications: Most states in the U.S. require that LPNs pass a state approved practical nursing program. These programs are usually one year in duration and are offered by many vocational, technical, and community colleges and private nursing schools. All LPNs are then required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for vocational / practical nurses (NCLEX-PN). 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. Subjects tested include: Health Promotion and Maintenance, Safe Effective Care Environment, Physiological Integrity and Psychosocial Integrity. Check with the board of nursing where you are seeking licensure for any additional requirements.
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 & Job Prospects: Licensed Practical Nurses can earn salaries of between $20,000 and $60,000 depending on experience, industry and location. The employment prospects for LPNs are very good due to the ongoing health requirements of an increasing aging population.
Find a Nursing School near you: Use the Further Your Career zip code search box, to find schools and colleges in your area that offer nursing programs.
Below is a list of some of the various types of medical nurses / assistant nurses: