A licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides basic care for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices, and in patient homes. Licensed practical nurses report directly to registered nurses and physicians.
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Licensed practical nurses provide bedside care, such as:
- Monitoring vital signs
- Assisting with patients' comfort
- Taking fluid samples
- Performing medical tests and procedures
Licensed practical nurses must be:
- A good communicator
- Able to make sound decisions
- Able to work under close supervision
What to Know About Licensed Practical Nurse Training and Degrees
Licensed practical nurse training varies state to state. Generally, each state requires a state-specific licensed practical nurse degree. You can earn your degree through vocational schools and community colleges. You can sometimes find degree programs through high schools, hospitals, colleges, and universities. Many LPN programs take one year to complete and combine classroom study with clinical practice.
You may also consider earning an accelerated licensed practical nurse to registered nurse degree. An accelerated licensed practical nursing program can help you become a registered nurse more quickly, by using your LPN training to advance in the program.
Licensed Practical Nurse Career Outlook
As of May 2008, the median annual salary for licensed practical nurses was $39,030. LPNs earned the highest salary, $44,690, in employment services. They earned the lowest salary, $35,020, in physicians' offices.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPN job opportunities will grow 21 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Becoming a licensed practical nurse can open the door to a fascinating job in the health care industry.