LPNs serve alongside other distinguished health care professionals and play a major role in providing patient care. Compassion, patience and attention to detail are some defining characteristics for people who pursue LPN careers. As the rumor mill churns out claims that LPN jobs are being phased out, the overall outlook for this profession is promising. However, it is helpful to remember that employment trends change about as often as employer needs in certain industries, especially during an economic downturn. But back to the good news: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the LPN occupation is slated to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020. This projection combined with the impending nursing shortage can work in your favor. As more nurses leave the profession, especially baby boomers, and the general population ages, the demand for LPNs will increase. If you’ve got excellent communication skills and a heart for service, read further to learn more about what it takes to become an LPN.
What is an LPN?
LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. These health care professionals provide care for patients under the supervision of doctors or registered nurses. LPNs are commonly referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs).
LPNs fulfill a range of responsibilities. Depending on the area an LPN is assigned to (or specializes in), a typical day may involve:
- Measuring vital signs
- Collecting fluid samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Cleaning and bandaging wounds
- Assisting physicians with patient care
- Administering medications (intravenously)
- Monitoring and recording patient reaction to medications
- Helping patients with personal hygiene needs
- Teaching families how to care for relatives
Source: Degree Directory
Where do LPNs work?
LPNs provide services to patients in a variety of healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics, nursing or retirement homes, private doctor’s offices, government agencies and hospices. They may also provide in-home care. LPNs can work full-time or part-time.
First, you will need to enroll in an LPN program. Such training can be completed at community colleges, universities, medical institutions or vocational technical schools. Most LPN programs take about one year to finish. There are also accelerated programs, which take less time to complete. If you elect to enroll in an online program, you will be required to participate in clinicals on campus or at a local hospital. After finishing an LPN program, you must pass the licensure examination. Once you’ve successfully taken the NCLEX-PN exam, you can apply for your license.
What are the opportunities for advancement as an LPN?
LPNs can advance to management or supervisory positions, provided they possess adequate experience. Many LPNs pursue additional education in order to become RNs, BSNs or doctors. The skills obtained as an LPN can be applicable across various industries.
Who’s hiring LPNs? Look no further. View LPN jobs here.