Get LPN Training: Study to Be a Licensed Practical Nurse

There are many kinds of nurses, including nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and nursing assistants. This is not to mention nurses who specialize in particular fields of medicine, from forensic science and dialysis to community health and hospice care. The designation LPN (licensed practical nurse) has a very specific educational path and definite job responsibilities that sets it apart from other careers in nursing. LPNs perform much of the day-to-day patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, and in home care. They take care of patients before and after medical operations and through rehabilitation. They monitor the health of patients through regular checks of blood pressure and pulse. They care for non-ambulatory patients, helping them with daily regimens like dressing and bathing. They provide information to patients and interview them to monitor their mood and health. They must perform routine medical procedures such as drawing blood. They are responsible for recording and reporting vital medical information and communicating it to the rest of the health care team. All of these tasks require training in medical vocabulary, procedures, and science. LPN training can be gained through certificate programs, through continuing education, and from professional associations.

There are quite a few reasons to study to be a licensed practical nurse. LPNs command a salary that is above average, not just among health care salaries, but also compared to salaries in general. The mean average wage for all LPNs is $41,360 per year and the hourly wage is $19.88. Even the lowest 10 percent of LPNs command a decent $14.27 an hour, with plenty of opportunities to add skills and increase earning potential. Although there are regional differences, much of the difference in LPN pay can be attributed to training. LPNs with specific skills and those who are checked out on extra medical equipment can command higher salaries and bonus pay. As in other industries, education pays.

As its name implies, there are licensing rules and requirements for LPNs. They need specific education and LPN training in addition to completing mandatory work experience. Licensing also involves frequent testing on knowledge and techniques that LPNs use on a regular basis. In fact, all LPNs must pass the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Exam-Practical Nursing), a national standardized test created in association with professionals in the profession. The test asks questions about both the practical routines of LPNs and the science and medicine of nursing. It also tests candidates’ knowledge of government regulations and standards of professional behavior.

Degree programs for LPNs are geared toward the requirements of licensure. There are classes in basic medical science, biology, and anatomy. There are courses in nursing practice in various health care situations, from surgery to long-term care to treatment of patients in psychiatric wards. Nutrition and health are covered, as are maternal health and infant care. These are the areas of focus on the NCLEX-PN. Questions on the test are both intellectual and practical. By completing LPN training at an accredited LPN program, candidates will be perfectly positioned to pass the exam on their first try. In fact, there is a significant difference in passing rates and most can be traced to the amount of education and specific training a test taker has.

LPN training does not have to stop once a professional career begins. LPNs can rise through the ranks by pursuing continuing education and by adding certifications. They can become administrators or add a degree to become registered nurses. Professional associations confer many benefits on their members. By joining, members get access to courses, lectures, and even scholarship money to advance in their profession.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014