What is an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) in today’s healthcare field? LPNs work alongside, and under the supervision of other physicians, RNs and other personnel typically found in a healthcare setting. They have a wide range of nursing duties, and they are considered a core functioning position in their job place. Many pass medications on hospital floors and nursing home facilities. They also perform patient care acts like assisting with activities of daily living, carry out doctor and physical therapist orders, monitor patient’s individualized health status, wound care, ambulatory assistance, patient charting and appropriate documentation and alert superiors when a patient condition warrants this. These professionals are found in doctor’s offices, ambulatory free clinics, home care companies and more.
Advice on How to Become an LPN
Vocational or community colleges that provide licensed practical nursing training will require a high school diploma. In absence of this, prospective students should take the G.E.D. exam. It is helpful and preferred to have had high school level science, biology, chemistry, English, and math courses including proficiency in Algebra. These courses can often be taken during summer school or night class sessions if not offered or taken when in high school.
Clearing Up Confusion Related to LPN vs RN
The allowed job duties and job expectation vary between different states. Also, every healthcare institution has different rules for these two important positions. LPN duties include taking vital signs, assessing patient condition, medication dispensing excluding those requiring an RN degree, patient care, charting and other duties that specialty units or institutions require.
RNs supervise LPNs and Nursing Assistants. They perform the main initial entry assessment, are responsible for much of the required documentation, write individualized care plans and implement them, perform nursing duties like vital signs, interpreting heart monitor rhythms, hook up and maintain specialized nursing equipment, perform appropriate range of motion exercises and follow physical therapists patient therapy orders.
There are many qualified schools offering LPN and/or RN or LPN to RN fast track Programs. Research their criteria, and learn the main difference between LPN and RN degrees or licenses in your particular state.
General Salary Range Information for LPNs
While pay rates vary between states, even an entry-level LPN salary is considered adequate for training. This can range from $12-$17+ range in lower salary states. LPN salaries can be considerably higher in bigger cities. The amount will depend on job position, facility rules, years of experience, any specialty training certifications and other like factors. An LPN can expect to make $30,000+ to $40,000+ per year with substantial healthcare coverage options and other job bonuses.
Current & Expected Future Demands for LPN Jobs
Since this is a healthcare position, there will always be need of these professionals. The job positions and LPN needs are expected to climb in the next decade. Some facilities rely heavily on these positions. Others hire a specific amount based on state requirements and facility discretion.
LPN Classes and Other Online Programs for LPN Education
Expect to learn college level Biology, Microbiology, English, Medication, and Medication Math courses, Anatomy and Physiology of Humans, Chemistry, Nursing Ethics and Profession Expectations. Some jobs will train their employees on the job after hire. This is especially true for surgical floors and other specialties.
Online programs are rising in popularity. Look for those accredited by state-required nursing organizations. These classes are often designed to allow greater student schedule flexibility. All LPNs must pass State Boards and hold current State License.