A Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, has a variety of tasks. The job moves quickly, so those interested should be able to react fast in important medical situations. LPNs also need to be able to treat all patients with kindness and compassion, since many of the people they will encounter each day will be sick, uncomfortable and unhappy.
LPNs typically work in home health care, hospitals, medical clinics and nursing homes. They assist doctors and registered nurses to provide care to patients. In some states, LPNs can perform the same job duties as an RN, but to advance to an RN or Nurse Practitioner, additional education and certification is required.
Some of the daily duties that a LPN might perform include:
Giving injections and immunizations
Taking vital signs
Basic wound care, such as bandaging and cleaning injuries
Taking and documenting medical history information
CNA supervision and delegation
Monitoring patient systems and functions, such as fluid output, food intake, etc.
LPN Job Education Requirements
LPNs must have an associate's degree, which combines education and hands-on training in a hospital or other healthcare setting. The education portion includes courses in nursing, pharmacology and biology. Some hospitals offer this certification, although most are getting away from this method of training. Various colleges, vocational and technical schools offer the program, which typically lasts one year for full-time students. After obtaining the associate's degree, the candidate must also pass the LPN exam in order to receive his or her license.
LPN Job Market
As with most other jobs in the healthcare environment, LPN jobs should continue to increase over the next decade. Since LPNs can work directly with patients or they can work in labs, assist with testing and clean and sanitize equipment, they fulfill many job duties in hospitals and other medical areas. Statistics predict that more than 182,000 jobs should open up in the next 10 years, which is a 25 percent increase from the 2012 numbers. This means that becoming a LPN is a great career path with jobs available throughout the country.
LPN Job Salary Information
Per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median LPN salary in 2012 was $41,540. The range from the top end of the data to the bottom was $57,360 to $30,970. The difference in salary is often due to experience, but employees at government facilities and hospitals tend to earn more than those who work in medical clinics.