All About LPN Career
The nursing field for a licensed practical nurse or LPN is a rewarding and noble career that provides many different options, specialties and work schedules. LPNs perform invaluable healthcare related duties and make important contributions to people’s lives in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, doctor’s offices and outpatient medical and mental health clinics. The legal scope of practice for the LPN is usually structured and approved by the employer and the state that grants the LPN licensure. In some states, the LPN is described as an LVN (licensed vocational nurse).
Training and Educational Classes for LPNs
Most often, a high school diploma or GED will meet the requirements for enrollment in a 12 month program at a vocational or technical school. Depending on the state requirements that approve or certify the LPN program, the classes are usually divided between formal classroom training and a practicum component with a local hospital, skilled nursing facility and possibly a rehabilitation center setting. Student nurses receive hands-on experience in addition to technical knowledge about:
- Medication Administration
- Infusion and Injection Therapy
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Pharmacology and Medication Formulas
- Phlebotomy (Laboratory Blood and Sample Techniques)
- Patient Care Techniques and Safety
LPNs Perform Important Patient Care
In most patient care settings, LPNs perform duties that include patient assessment and evaluation that is needed by registered nurses and physicians to provide diagnosis and to design a plan of care. Depending on the patient setting and scope of practice, LPNs perform:
- Patient Documentation
- Direct Patient Care
- Monitor and Take Patient Vital Signs
- Assist Patient with Before and After Surgery
- Perform Injections, IV Medication Administration and Blood Draws
- Operate Ventilators and Oxygen Delivery Devices
- Patient Care in the Home
Future Growth of LPNs Needed in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPN or LVN positions are one of the fastest growing career fields with an additional 170,000 positions needed by the year 2020. Depending on the state of employment, new graduates can expect a salary average of approximately $32,000 a year with an hourly rate of about $17.50-19.50 an hour. Graduate nurses are known as GPNs and may secure employment per a grace period while waiting to take the state licensure exam known as NCLEX-LPN.
LPN Positions are in High Demand
Nurses are always in demand in hospitals, rehab centers, physician’s offices and community health centers. The aging population of the USA will continue to demand more healthcare providers throughout the future. Vocational and technical schools that are accredited by the state provide LPN educational programs satisfy the requirements that the graduate nurse needs to sit for the licensure exam known as the NCLEX-LPN. After the completion of a 12 month LPN educational program, graduate nurses have a grace period to work and gain experience as a GPN until they pass the examination and become licensed.
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