Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) -- called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in some states -- provide basic medical care under the supervision of RNs and physicians. LPN jobs involve taking vital signs; changing bandages; helping with bathing and dressing; keeping health records; and communicating with clinicians, patients and families. LPNs may also help evaluate and plan care for patients.
LPN employment is found in nursing homes, hospitals, physicians' offices and patients' homes. LPNs may be called on to work nights and weekends, and their nursing duties may include lifting and moving patients, potentially hazardous activities.
Licensed Practical Nurse Education
Licensed practical nurses must spend about a year completing an accredited program at a high school, technical school, community college or hospital. These programs combine classroom and clinical experience. State licensure for LPNs and LVNs is required.
Licensed Practical Nurse Job Market
Licensed practical and vocational nurses held 752,300 jobs in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). LPN job opportunities are projected to grow 22 percent by 2020, faster than the average occupation.
Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries
The median licensed practical nurse salary was $41,150 in 2011, according to the BLS. The best-paid 10 percent of LPNs earned $57,080.