A Licensed Practical Nurse is a vital member of high-performance healthcare professionals providing care in a variety of settings. They typically monitor a patient’s vital statistics, administer basic care and report concerns to registered nurses and physicians. When patients enter a healthcare facility, LPNs assist the registered nurse or other healthcare providers by measuring and recording blood pressure, weight, height, pulse, temperature and rate of respiration of the patient.
These professionals assess patients, monitor vital signs, and assist with personal care and procedures such as catheterization and wound care.
Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
Changing dressings or inserting catheters
Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
Assisting with tests or procedures
Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
Consulting with RNs on care plans
You can complete an approved program to become a licensed practical nurse in two ways, either by earning a diploma or certificate or by earning an associate degree. A diploma or certificate is often the fastest route into the workforce, but credits from these programs cannot be used toward further education. Students aspiring to become registered nurses may find an associate degree offers the best option for future career goals.
After completion of an approved Licensed Practical Nurse program students have to appear and qualify the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) developed and administered by National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Those who do not pass must wait 45-90 days before retaking the test.
After completing the program and earning a license, a student can join workforce immediately. Demand for Practical Nursing is continuously growing and the students will have plenty of opportunities to join a workplace of his/her preference.
A student can choose to get an additional certificate to stand out from the crowd and increase his marketability. There are numerous certificates available for specialized clinical roles.
After being in their role for a while, LPNs may decide to engage in further education, such as a nursing degree at the associate or bachelor’s degree level. Both options generally provide wider employment opportunities and increased earning potential. Similar to the LPN career path, aspiring RNs will need to meet state requirements and pass a standardized national exam before being fully licensed.
The LPN diploma and certificate are both terminal programs, meaning they are not intended to transition students to a higher level of education. Coursework covers the essentials of practical nursing, including anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, biology, and chemistry. Students will learn about these topics both in the classroom and through clinical instruction.
Associate’s Degrees are offered at community colleges and often provide graduates greater career flexibility. An associate degree can be used as the foundation for a bachelor’s degree, whereas credits earned in a diploma or certificate program typically cannot be transferred to an advanced degree. In addition to covering all foundational nursing coursework, associate degrees include a more in-depth study of relevant topics and offer additional classes as electives.