The occupation of becoming a licensed practical nurse requires about one year of continuing education in a vocational, technical, community, or online college. Becoming an LPN is a career stepping stone for some nurses and a career stopping point for others. Deciding to continue your educational and career goals is a personal situation and a question that is answered differently by each individual nurse.
The LPN Education
The aspiring licensed practical nurse will have to attend classes for one year on average which will incorporate classes such as anatomy and physiology, nursing theory, basic first aid and life saving skills, patient hygiene, pediatric and surgical nursing introduction classes. Upon successful completion of the classroom requirements there are practical skills training and assessment classes that help prepare the student for their respective state board exams. Once a student successfully passes the required state exams, they are officially licensed as LPN’s and ready to assume professional employment.
The LPN’s Job
The licensed practical nurse job description is as intense and varied as any other nurse’s job requirements. LPN’s are responsible for performing duties such as patient bedside care for terminally ill or physically disabled patients. They also perform such responsibilities as vital sign monitoring and recording to include blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rates, temperature, height and weight, and any other pertinent physical vital components. LPN’s are also required to monitor catheters and clean and dress various wounds. The licensed practical nurse will also find patient personal hygiene and mobility assignments in their job description. This includes moving patients from hospital to permanent beds and assisting daily exercise routines. Licensed practical nurses that have extended experience may also serve in supervisory roles to nursing assistants or home health aides. The home palliative care LPN’s job description grows even more in depth with patient drug monitoring and watching and responding to possible drug interactions. These job requirements are patient specific and some or most of these areas may be performed or only a specified task. LPN’s require education and the need to be familiar with their respective job requirements because their skills may be called upon at anytime.
Where LPN’s Work
Licensed practical nurses are utilized in hospitals and urgent care facilities. They are also employed in public and private nursing facilities from state run institutions to the most prestigious assisted living and private nursing homes. LPN’s also frequently become employed in personal nursing which provides patients with illnesses and disabilities the convenience of dealing with their health issues from the privacy of their homes. Private nursing care is steadily trending upwards as the U.S. population grows older. Regardless of where licensed practical nurses look for employment, there are sure to be open positions as there is an across the board shortage of nurses of all levels across the country.
LPN’s are in demand. For some this is a beginning to a long career in which continuing education and career advancement are part of the nurses’ plan, and for some it is the highlight of their career. In either case LPN’s are needed to fill a nationwide shortage.