Licensed Practical Nurse LPN - How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) / Licensed Vocational Nurse  (LVN) Job Description

 

In Texas and California, they are called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). In all other states, they are licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Regardless of what they’re called, their duties are the same: they care for the sick, the injured, help the convalescent and assist the disabled in a variety of health care settings.

LPN jobs are plenty and they have a great job-growth outlook for the future. Many nurses receive their LPN as one of the first step to becoming a Registered Nurse or an advanced practice nurse. 

LPNs/LVNs work under the supervision of RNs or physicians. Preparation programs for LPNs involve one year of classroom and clinical training at a hospital, a vocational-technical school or a community college. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take a state exam to obtain their license as an LPN or LVN. Once licensed, these nurses are qualified to work in hospitals and other health care settings.

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Responsibilities

 

The responsibilities of an LPN are limited. They are required to work under the guidance and direct supervision of a registered nurse or physician.

Typical duties of an LPN include providing basic bedside care. Some of their common job responsibilities may include:

  • Taking vital signs (temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiration)

  • Providing treatment for bedsores

  • Preparing and administering medications through injection or enema

  • Applying dressings, including sterile dressings

  • Providing alcohol rubs and massages

  • Applying hot and cold packs as ordered

  • Monitoring catheters

  • Observing patients and report any adverse reactions to medications or treatments

  • Collecting lab samples for testing

  • Performing routine laboratory tests

  • Feeding patients who need assistance

  • Recording food and fluid intake and output

  • Assisting patients with personal hygiene, such as bathing and dressing

  • Providing comfort measures to patients

  • Caring for patients’ emotional needs

  • Administering medicines as prescribed by a physician or initiate venipuncture to start intravenous fluids in states where the law allows this practice

In some settings, LPNs may help deliver, care for and feed infants. Nursing assistants and nursing aides can be supervised by experienced LPNs.

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Skills

 

Communication Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient's treatment plans and diagnoses. Must correspond with other medical professionals to ensure patient care. 
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing patient to make sure they are responding well to treatment plans and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary. 
Critical Thinking Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 
Complex Problem Solving Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 
Empathy Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with sensitive issues.
Trustworthiness Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 
Operation Monitoring Must be able to monitor gauges and dials and use medical software to give the best updated medical care. 

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Working Conditions

 

Most licensed practical nurses work a standard 40-hour week in a hospital or a long-term care facility or nursing home. Because the patients in these facilities need around-the-clock care, assignments for working nights, weekends and holidays are usually required. An LPN is often required to sand for long periods of time and may be required to help patients turn and position in the bed, stand and walk.

 


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How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse / Licensed Vocational Nurse:

 

1. Community College, Technical, or Vocational School

After graduating from high school you have to either go to vocational or tech school, or community college to receive a degree, diploma or certificate. With some of the certificate programs, you can complete them in as little as a year. 

 

Tech or Vocational School

If you decide to go to vocational or technical school you will receive a diploma or certificate and receive hands on training that can land you into the job field immediately upon completion. A good thing about these schools is that they take 9-18 months to complete and give you flexible classes geared towards working students. One draw back to tech or vocational school, is that it hinders your opportunity to move on to higher education as the credits don't transfer and you just receive a diploma or certificate. 

 

Community College

Receiving your Associates Degree is a good option if you want to further your education and become a RN or Nurse Practitioner. Community college programs will have you complete general education courses which will give you a fuller education and opportunity to transfer credits for higher education. Associates Degrees usually take 18-24 months to complete and is more of a time commitment to students who also work full time. It is definitely the way to go if you want to develop your career and receive higher education. 

 

Most of the coursework for these paths covers the essentials of practical nursing. These include anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, biology, and chemistry. Of course, if getting your Associate's Degree you will be required to take general education classes like english and other basics.

 

3. Take the NCLEX-PN to Earn the Required License

 

After graduating, you have to take the NCLEX-PN exam for full licensure. The NCLEX is comprised of multiple choice and short answer questions and has a minimum of 85 questions and maximum of 205 questions. The test is taken on a computer and is given in CAT format, meaning the difficulty of questions varies. If you miss an question it will give you an easier question; if you get it right it will give you a harder one.  

This exam is to see if it is safe for you to practice as an entry-level practical or vocational nurse. It's important to take the test soon after graduation so that all the information is still fresh. Make sure you study for the test and go in prepared.

 

The test is compiled of the following:

 

Client Needs

% of Items from Each Category

Safe and Effective Care Environment

 
Management of Care 17-23%
Safety and Infection Control 9-15%
Health Promotion and Maintenance 6-12%
Psychosocial Integrity 6-12%

Physiological Integrity

 
Basic Care and Comfort 6-12%

Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies

12-18%
Reduction of Risk Potential  9-15%
Physiological Adaptation 11-17%

 

After you pass the test and receive your license you will need to search for a job. You can use HospitalCareers.com for your search. We house over 20,000 jobs in over 20 states and work with all the big hospital associations to bring you quality positions.  

Related: Top 10 Best NCLEX-RN Review Books

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
12.03.2016
Department: Employee Health/WellnessA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: The Occupational Medicine department provides specialized services to meet the needs of the patient and the employer for which the patient is employed. The LPN supports...
12.03.2016
Department: Urgent Care CenterA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: The licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides nursing care to assigned patients under the direct supervision of the registered nurse (RN) or other assigned supervisor and accepts...
12.03.2016
Department: EndocrinologyA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: The LPN is responsible for rooming patients, obtaining a detailed medical history, vital signs, and other pertinent health information. The LPN works closely with the provider and...
11.28.2016
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) - OB PRN (1610204) Job Description Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) - OB PRN-1610204 Bolivar Medical Center Description Bolivar Medical Center is committed to being the premier healthcare provider in the...
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
12.03.2016
Department: DRM NursingA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: The licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides nursing care to assigned patients under the direct supervision of the registered nurse (RN) or other assigned supervisor and accepts...
12.03.2016
Department: Fountain CenterA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: 1 of 2 nurses working per shift in a 24/7 Residential Inpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment CenterResponsibilities: The licensed practical nurse (LPN):Provides nursing care to...
12.03.2016
Department: Fountain CenterA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: 1 of 2 nurses working in a 24/7 Residential Chemical Dependency Treatment CenterResponsibilities: The licensed practical nurse (LPN):Provides nursing care to assigned patients...
12.03.2016
Department: G.I.LabA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: The licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides nursing care to assigned patients under the direct supervision of the registered nurse (RN) or other assigned supervisor and accepts delegation...
11.28.2016
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care (including IV therapy) of assigned patients within the framework of the Licensed Practical Nurse Act under the direction of a Registered Nurse. The LPN...
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