Licensed Practical Nurses Career Information
At School Soup we want to help you on your Licensed Practical Nurses Career path. Here in our Licensed Practical Nurses career section, we have lots of great information to help you learn all about Licensed Practical Nurses. If you're interested in other possible careers, please select a career from the dropdown menu below to learn more about that specific career.
Significant Points· Training lasting about 1 year is available in about 1,100 State-approved
programs, mostly in vocational or technical schools.
· Nursing homes will offer the most new jobs.
· Job seekers in hospitals may face competition as the number of hospital jobs for LPNs declines.
Nature of the WorkLicensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed
vocational nurses (LVNs) as they are called in Texas and California, care for
the sick, injured, convalescent, and disabled under the direction of physicians
and registered nurses.
Most LPNs provide basic bedside care. They take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also treat bedsores, prepare and give injections and enemas, apply dressings, give alcohol rubs and massages, apply ice packs and hot water bottles, and monitor catheters. LPNs observe patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments. They collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, feed patients, and record food and fluid intake and output. They help patients with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable, and care for their emotional needs. In States where the law allows, they may administer prescribed medicines or start intravenous fluids. Some LPNs help deliver, care for, and feed infants. Experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and aides.
LPNs in nursing homes provide routine bedside care, help evaluate residents' needs, develop care plans, and supervise the care provided by nursing aides. In doctors' offices and clinics, they also may make appointments, keep records, and perform other clerical duties. LPNs who work in private homes also may prepare meals and teach family members simple nursing tasks.
Working ConditionsMost licensed practical nurses in hospitals
and nursing homes work a 40-hour week, but because patients need around-the-clock
care, some work nights, weekends, and holidays. They often stand for long periods
and help patients move in bed, stand, or walk.
LPNs may face hazards from caustic chemicals, radiation, and infectious diseases such as hepatitis. They are subject to back injuries when moving patients and shock from electrical equipment. They often must deal with the stress of heavy workloads. In addition, the patients they care for may be confused, irrational, agitated, or uncooperative.
Licensed practical nurses held about 726,000 jobs in 2009. About 27 percent of LPNs worked in hospitals, 25 percent in nursing care facilities, and another 12 percent in offices of physicians. Others worked for home health care services; employment services; community care facilities for the elderly; public and private educational services; outpatient care centers; and Federal, State, and local government agencies. About 1 in 5 worked part time.
Training, Qualifications, Adv.All States and the District of Columbia require
LPNs to pass a licensing examination after completing a State-approved practical
nursing program. A high school diploma, or equivalent, usually is required for
entry, although some programs accept candidates without a diploma or are designed
as part of a high school curriculum.
In 2000, approximately 1,100 State-approved programs provided practical nursing training. Almost 6 out of 10 students were enrolled in technical or vocational schools, while 3 out of 10 were in community and junior colleges. Others were in high schools, hospitals, and colleges and universities.
Most practical nursing programs last about 1 year and include both classroom study and supervised clinical practice (patient care). Classroom study covers basic nursing concepts and patient-care related subjects, including anatomy, physiology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics, psychiatric nursing, administration of drugs, nutrition, and first aid. Clinical practice usually is in a hospital, but sometimes includes other settings.
LPNs should have a caring, sympathetic nature. They should be emotionally stable because work with the sick and injured can be stressful. They also should have keen observational, decision making, and communication skills. As part of a healthcare team, they must be able to follow orders and work under close supervision.
Job OutlookEmployment of LPNs is expected to for all occupations through 2010 in response to the long-term care needs of a rapidly growing elderly population and the general growth of healthcare. Replacement needs will be a major source of job openings, as many workers leave the occupation permanently.
Employment of LPNs in nursing homes is expected to grow faster than the average. Nursing homes will offer the most new jobs for LPNs as the number of aged and disabled persons in need of long-term care rises. In addition to caring for the aged and disabled, nursing homes will be called on to care for the increasing number of patients who have been discharged from the hospital but who have not recovered enough to return home.
LPNs seeking positions in hospitals may face competition, as the number of hospital jobs for LPNs declines. An increasing proportion of sophisticated procedures, which once were performed only in hospitals, are being performed in physicians' offices and clinics, including ambulatory surgicenters and emergency medical centers, due largely to advances in technology. As a result, employment of LPNs is projected to grow much faster than average in these places as healthcare expands outside the traditional hospital setting.
Employment of LPNs is expected to grow much faster than average in home healthcare services. This is in response to a growing number of older persons with functional disabilities, consumer preference for care in the home, and technological advances, which make it possible to bring increasingly complex treatments into the home.
Median annual earnings of licensed practical nurses were $33,970 in May 2009. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,830 and $40,670. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $46,270. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of licensed practical nurses in May 2009 were:
|Nursing care facilities||35,460|
|Home health care services||35,180|
|General medical and surgical hospitals||32,570|
|Offices of physicians||30,400|
Registered nursing, medical technicians, physicians assistants are occupations that are related that may be considered.
For information about practical nursing, contact any of the following organizations: Information on the NCLEX-PN licensing exam is available from: A list of State-approved LPN programs is available from individual State boards of nursing.
Sources of Additional Information
For information about practical nursing, contact any of the following organizations:
Information on the NCLEX-PN licensing exam is available from:
A list of State-approved LPN programs is available from individual State boards of nursing.