An LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse is a nurse who is licensed by the state and is educated, trained and qualified to provide patient care to individuals that are injured, sick, disabled, terminally ill, or elderly. To become a licensed practical nurse, nursing students first have to complete an LPN program. After this, candidates will then need to pass a licensure exam. Those that pass can immediately begin working as licensed practical nurses.
Duties of a LPN
Licensed practical nurses have duties that range from administrative to clinical duties. It is the responsibility of an LP to give basic bed care to patients. They also 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. It is also their duty to 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.
The usual working hours of LPNs are 40 hours per week. They are usually employed in clinics, hospitals, and doctor’s offices. They are also not without risks as they are exposed to radiation, caustic chemicals and contagious diseases. Furthermore, uncooperative patients can result to possible injuries. Aside from these, they often deal with the anxieties and the frustrations that the patient and their family members may have with the patient’s health condition.
For most licensed practical nurses, the average salary is $39,000 a year. Of course, the rate 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 healthcare 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 healthcare setting.
Schools require candidates to have a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate. Before candidates can submit their application, they have to undergo a few preparatory courses that the school requires. 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 increase the chances of being accepted into the program.
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.
Different LPN schools have different tuition fees. The average cost is around $10,000, with all fees included. You can also pay as little as $4,000. The most expensive schools may cost as much as $25,000, excluding the cost of books and other materials.