A Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN is a nurse that is licensed by the state who can provide patient care to people that are old, disabled, injured, sick, or terminally ill. To become a licensed practical nurse, a candidate must complete an LPN program and pass a licensure exam. Those who pass the exam can start practicing licensed practical nursing right away.
The duties of licensed practical nurses range from clinical practice to administrative duties. They often provide basic bed care to patients and they assist patients in their daily tasks such as bathing and dressing, standing and walking, and eating. Additionally, they take and record patients' vital signs and they help them prepare for their medical tests. They also prepare and administer injections, dress wounds, collect test samples, and perform laboratory tests. Some of the administrative duties that licensed practical nurses fulfill are gathering the patient's health information and insurance details as well as keeping records and making appointments.
Most licensed practical nurses work 40 hours a week. They can be found working at hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. They face risks from radiation, caustic chemicals, and contagious diseases. They are also subjected to possible injuries when they are assisting uncooperative patients. Moreover, they often deal with the anxieties and the frustrations that the patient and their family members may have with the patient's health condition.
The average salary of licensed practical nurses is about $39,000 a year. Salaries may vary between states and they are determined by several factors, such as the overall work experience that the licensed practical nurse has, their educational background, the cost of living in the area, the number of hours per shift that they get, and the type of health-care facility that the licensed practical nurse practices nursing in.
An LPN program can be completed in a year or so at a technical or vocational school. Half of the program is spent on classroom study, which focuses on nursing related subjects such as anatomy and physiology, fundamentals of nursing, pediatrics, pharmacology, nutrition, and maternal and child health. The other half is spent on clinical practice and it is done at a hospital or other health-care setting.
Schools require candidates to have a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate. Prior to submitting their application, they must complete a few preparatory courses required by the school. Candidates with a high GED score and high scores on the nursing admission tests have a better chance of gaining entry into the school that they are applying for. Certificates from any volunteer nursing experience that they have should be included in the application letter, which will elevate one's chances of being accepted.
The licensure examination that candidates have to pass is called the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination). It is owned and developed by the NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.). The exams are taken in a computerized adapting testing format and they vary in length. The exams may involve multiple choice, identification, and math problem solving questions.