If you love helping people, want a steady income, and do not want to spend several years in school, becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) may be just right for you. The training takes about one year and can be done at most vocational or technical schools. While an LPN does not earn as much as a Registered Nurse (RN), the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary of an LPN as of May 2012 is $41,540. This is a great career option for nurses who choose to pursue additional education while supporting themselves.
A Licensed Practical Nurse must possess several specific personality traits before deciding to enter this field of the medical industry. It goes without saying that you must have a genuine desire to want to help people; you must truly care about others before becoming a nurse. Patience is a virtue. You must deal with all types of people from all walks of life. In any given day, you may be responsible for the care of a 3-year-old child who hurt himself on a swing set and a 90-year-old woman in a vegetative state. Adaptability is key. You are also responsible for accurately conveying information to the patient, monitoring their vital signs, and reporting how they feel to a physician or registered nurse.
LPNs must complete a full training program that is approved by the board in the state in which they live. There are a variety of places this can be accomplished, including vocational schools, technical schools, and community colleges, and even certain high schools and hospitals offer programs. You must have at least a high school diploma to enter one of these programs, and they generally take about one year.
Every state board has their own requirements for completion of an LPN program. To check the requirements in your specific state, go to the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) website. LPNs must take a national nursing license examination. This generally consists of four specific areas pertaining to patient needs: promotion of health and health maintenance, physiological integrity, psychological integrity, and the provision of a safe, effective health care environment.
Since LPNs are on the forefront of patient care maintenance, they must have a firm grasp of a patient’s physical and emotional well being. LPNs must be able to effectively communicate with patients so they will understand how they respond to treatment and how care can be improved. Listening skills are also important. In order to meet patient needs, LPNs must actively listen so they can ask and answer questions about a patient’s health. Since most LPNs are supervised by a doctor or RN, they must be able to pass along accurate information to their superior.
The initial education and license are necessary for any LPN to begin work in the field. However, LPNs must continually study and regularly complete continuing education credits (CECs). It is a necessity to maintain an LPN license and the requirements for this vary from state to state. Often, they are completed within a specific time frame, or LPNs may take coursework through a bridge program that helps transition them into the field of registered nursing.
Samuel Pennant is a freelance blogger and writer specializing in health, wellness, fitness, medical science, the medical profession, medical education and other similar topics.