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Become an LPN, the fast path to a nursing career

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Author: Max Stein

Licensed Practical Nurses provide the most amount of direct patient care within the nursing category of healthcare. If you’re interested in a healthcare career dealing directly with patients, becoming an LPN is a rewarding opportunity.

LPN Job Description

LPNs provide a large portion of direct patient care. LPNs may be assisted by nurses’ aides ( CNAs ) and other assistants in some of their duties. LPNs are directed by doctors and nurses (RNs & nurse managers). Typically, a LPN’s work duties include:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Preparing and administering injections and enemas
  • Applying dressings and bandages
  • Watching catheters
  • Treating bedsores
  • Providing alcohol massages or rubs
  • Monitoring patients and reporting changes
  • Collecting samples for testing
  • Provide patient hygiene
  • Feeding patients
  • Monitoring food and liquid input/output

LPNs work in a variety of settings like hospitals, outpatient facilities, long term care facilities, clinics and home care. Tenured LPNs may supervise nursing aides and assistants.

Salary Ranges

While nursing jobs in general are in high demand nationwide, LPN positions in hospitals are declining. However, since this has been caused by an increase in outpatient services, LPN positions in long term care facilities and home health is in as much demand as other nursing categories.

The U.S. Department of Labor has published the median income for LPNs as $31,440 in 2002. The range was $22,860 to $44,040 based on geographic location and work experience. Contract LPNs made the most money, while doctor’s office nurses made the least on average at $28,710.

A nursing career offers other benefits including a flexible schedule, a short work week (three 12 hour shifts with four days off), tuition reimbursement and signing bonuses.

Education / Getting Started

Because of the high level of patient responsibility, nursing is highly regulated, requiring both education and a license. Graduates must complete a state approved practical nursing program and pass a licensing examination.

An LPN certificate can be completed in less than a year. Some RN students become LPNs after completing their first year of study. Course work in the LPN program includes anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biology, chemistry, obstetrics, pediatrics, first aid as well as nursing classes.

Becoming an LPN is the fastest path to a nursing career. Advancement can take many forms, but additional education is usually required.

If you possess the traits necessary to become a successful nurse and want to secure a well paying, important profession caring for others, getting an LPN degree in nursing is a great way to secure your professional future.

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Max Stein, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Max Stein is a freelance writer, about business, education and marketing.
maxstein_9@hotmail.com www.degreesource.com
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Submitted: 31 August 2004 © Max Stein

 

Andrew Heenan is a Nurse, Journalist and Web Editor. Enquiries via the email address at the foot of the page.

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