So, you're thinking about training to become a licensed practical nurse, or LPN. Although you will learn the vast majority of what you need to know during your training, you'll be more successful throughout your career if you possess certain character traits. While many traits come naturally to people, some can be developed or honed with time. Do you already possess the traits that make a successful LPN? Find out by checking out the list below.
Top 8 Character Traits of Successful LPNs
Some people are more naturally suited to working as LPNs than others. As you will see, some of the traits that go well with licensed practical nursing are more innate in nature, meaning that you are born with them. Others can be developed or improved with time and patience. Review the following list of traits that tend to be shared by successful LPNs, and focus on improving or strengthening those that don't come so naturally to you.
- Decisiveness - During a typical fast-paced, chaotic shift, an LPN doesn't have the luxury of hemming and hawing. When decisions need to be made, they usually need to be made quickly. LPNs who are able to make an educated and informed decision quickly and firmly tend to do far better than those who agonize about decisions over long periods of time. The fact of the matter is that there simply isn't time to put too much thought into the decision-making process. It may seem scary at first, but as you become acclimated to the job you will get better and better at acting firmly and decisively when needed.
- Communication Skills - Without effective communication skills, you will struggle a lot as an LPN. For one thing, you will be working directly with patients throughout most of your shift. You'll have to listen and understand to know what they need, and you'll have to be able to express yourself clearly to ensure that they understand you. Those communication skills are also crucial when it comes to working and collaborating with fellow LPNs, RNs, and other healthcare professionals.
- Organizational Skills - If you are often described as a "neat-nik" by friends and family, you will probably thrive as an LPN. Nursing professionals in general fare far better when they are neat, tidy, and organized. Their shifts are so chaotic that they don't have the time to search for what they need for hours on end. In addition to being organized about your supplies, you need to be organized about how you approach your job. This means being able to prioritize your duties by taking care of the most pressing things first and the less important things later.
- Technical Know-How - Just because LPNs aren't IT professionals doesn't mean that they can go without any computer skills at all. In fact, in this day and age, being unfamiliar with basic computer technology is a liability in nearly every field. Information technology is a crucial part of the healthcare world, with things like electronic medical records becoming ubiquitous. It helps enormously to be able to tell and show employers that you know how to use computers and other forms of technology. If you aren't very comfortable with them, then, see about getting some training.
- Compassion - If you're going to stick with being an LPN for the long haul, you had better be a naturally compassionate person. The fact is that you will be in direct daily contact with people who aren't doing very well. Under these circumstances, patients can be difficult. Without compassion, you will take things the wrong way and let things get under your skin. With compassion, your patients' well-being will always be your top priority, and you will be able to overlook rude behavior and other issues because you are coming from a place of understanding.
- Attention to Detail - Because the health and well-being of your patients are at stake, it pays to be as precise and meticulous about things as possible as an LPN. Having a strong attention to detail will go a long way for you in this field. From completing health assessments to ordering supplies on the computer, it is crucial to be accurate. If you are the kind of person who tend to look for shortcuts or who otherwise tries to rush things, try slowing it down and paying more attention to the fine details.
- Emotional Stability - Even the most emotionally stable LPNs struggle during the early days of their careers. There is just so much to get used to, including dealing with patients or residents who aren't happy to be there and who therefore may not always be very pleasant. The stressful nature of the job also affects coworkers, which can lead to misunderstandings and other issues. There is no way to avoid these kinds of things as an LPN, so it's essential to be as emotionally stable as possible. If you struggle in this area, counseling might help.
- Patience - Finally, counterintuitive though it may be considering the fast-paced nature of the work, it pays to have a healthy dose of patience when working as an LPN. This is especially true where it concerns interacting with patients. Indeed, you need patience to effectively support your patients, so keep that mantra in mind. Also, as an entry-level professional, you are more likely to be kept waiting or to be asked to do things for others. Even if you're overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember to be patient.
Not everyone is suited for licensed practical nursing. No amount of training will compensate for lacking most or all of the character traits that are highlighted above. If you don't naturally possess one or more of these traits, put some work into them to improve your odds for having a successful LPN career.