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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Careers
Licensed Practical Nurses provide the most amount of direct patient care within the nursing category of healthcare. If you’re interested in a healthcare career dealing directly with patients, becoming an LPN is a rewarding opportunity.
LPN Job Description
LPNs provide a large portion of direct patient care. LPNs may be assisted by nurses’ aides ( CNAs ) and other assistants in some of their duties. LPNs are directed by doctors and nurses (RNs & nurse managers). Typically, a LPN’s work duties include:
Taking vital signs
Preparing and administering injections and enemas
Applying dressings and bandages
Providing alcohol massages or rubs
Monitoring patients and reporting changes
Collecting samples for testing
Provide patient hygiene
Monitoring food and liquid input/output
LPNs work in a variety of settings like hospitals, outpatient facilities, long term care facilities, clinics and home care. Tenured LPNs may supervise nursing aides and assistants.
While nursing jobs in general are in high demand nationwide, LPN positions in hospitals are declining. However, since this has been caused by an increase in outpatient services, LPN positions in long term care facilities and home health is in as much demand as other nursing categories.
The U.S. Department of Labor has published the median income for LPNs as $31,440 in 2002. The range was $22,860 to $44,040 based on geographic location and work experience. Contract LPNs made the most money, while doctor’s office nurses made the least on average at $28,710.
A nursing career offers other benefits including a flexible schedule, a short work week (three 12 hour shifts with four days off), tuition reimbursement and signing bonuses.
Education / Getting Started
Because of the high level of patient responsibility, nursing is highly regulated, requiring both education and a license. Graduates must complete a state approved practical nursing program and pass a licensing examination. An LPN certificate can be completed in less than a year. Some RN students become LPNs after completing their first year of study. Course work in the LPN program includes anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biology, chemistry, obstetrics, pediatrics, first aid as well as nursing classes.
Becoming an LPN is the fastest path to a nursing career. Advancement can take many forms, but additional education is usually required.
If you possess the traits necessary to become a successful nurse and want to secure a well paying, important profession caring for others, getting an LPN degree in nursing is a great way to secure your professional future.