Do you want to become a licensed practical nurse? Do you need to find a program that will get you there? If you are one of the many people who dream of working in the nursing field, your search is over. This site offers up-to-date, practical information about becoming an LPN. As you explore the site, you will learn the main prerequisites for becoming an LPN, discover the steps for becoming licensed as an LPN, obtain information about popular LPN schools and find a lot more useful information.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a strong, continued demand for nurses and other healthcare professionals through the end of the decade, so people who have the right credentials will have numerous opportunities. Additionally, median pay for a licensed practical nurse in 2010 was $40,380, which is equivalent to $19.42 per hour.
What is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?
Licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses are nursing professionals who work under the direct supervision of doctors and registered nurses or RNs. While they do not have the training or credentials that are required to administer anesthesia or perform surgery, LPNs are invaluable members of any healthcare team. Their duties vary considerably and depend on the needs of doctors, registered nurses and patients.
What Does an LPN Do?
For an LPN, no two days are ever alike. In fact, it is common for an LPN to perform a variety of tasks during the course of a single shift. LPNs float move from place to place, providing support where it is needed. The majority of the typical LPN's day involves providing direct care to patients, which takes many different forms. The types of healthcare services that LPNs perform include:
- Patient Care – From bathing patients to helping them get to physical therapy sessions, LPNs provide hands-on care that makes a huge difference in patients’ lives.
- Monitoring – LPNs are often tasked with monitoring patients on behalf of RNs and doctors. They also alert doctors and nurses to patients who require immediate attention.
- Charting – Changes observed while monitoring patients are noted on charts, which are then used by doctors and nurses.
- Collecting Samples – LPNs sometimes collect samples for testing.
- Additional Tasks – Under the direct supervision of a doctor or RN, an LPN may also change dressings, begin intravenous drips, perform minor procedures and handle a variety of other routine tasks.
LPNs don't just provide care to patients; they provide support to healthcare professionals as well. Their days tend to be busy and shifts usually go by quickly.
How to Become an LPN?
If you genuinely want to make a difference in people's lives, pursuing a career as an LPN is an excellent idea. If anything, demand for LPNs will increase in the years to come. By starting right now, you can start looking for LPN jobs at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities within a year or two. Here is how you can become an LPN:
- Take the Right Classes in High School – While this is not mandatory, it helps to study subjects like biology, chemistry and human physiology while you're still in high school. That way, these subjects will not be completely foreign to you when you enroll in a program to become a licensed practical nurse.
- Enroll in and Complete a Vocational Training Program or LPN School – The only way to become an LPN is by becoming licensed as one in your state. You cannot do that without passing the licensing exam that is administered by the local board of nursing. The right LPN school will prepare you for the exam so that you can pass it on your first try. Local schools and community colleges run some vocational training programs. Others are offered online.
- Take the NCLEX-PN – Upon successfully completing your training as an LPN, you will be ready to take the NCLEX-PN, or National Council Licensure Examination - Practical Nurse. It is administered by state boards of nursing.
- Apply for and Obtain Your License – After passing the exam, you will be eligible to apply for your license. You must apply with your state board of nursing. In addition to demonstrating that you have passed the NCLEX-PN, you will need to pass a background check. As long as everything checks out, you will receive your license.
- Apply for Jobs – With your license in hand, you will now be able to apply for jobs. At first, your options may be somewhat limited. As you gain more experience, you will become qualified for more positions. You may also return to receive training in specializations like obstetrics and oncology in order to pursue jobs in specific departments.
Top 20 LPN Schools
Get the ball rolling on your career as a licensed practical nurse by enrolling in one of the top 20 most popular LPN schools in the U.S. The following schools are all state-approved and accredited:
Online LPN Training
If you would like to hold down your current job while studying to become an LPN, an online LPN training program is a great option. Online LPN programs are available through these schools:
Be an LPN and join a field that is sure to have plenty of opportunities for the foreseeable future. You cannot get there without the appropriate training and education. The right LPN program will prepare you for a successful future in this exciting field.