Licensed Practical Nurses are also called Licensed Vocational Nurses.

We have talked about Registered Nurses (RN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) in some detail in previous posts, so I thought we should talk about Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and give an LPN job description.

Although some are specialists, the LPN job description is usually one of a generalist.  Tasks are usually related to bedside care; gathering of information- like health history, present symptoms, and physical traits like height and weight; and the LPN often assists with bathing, eating, hygiene, etc.

Licensed Practical Nurses work under the direction of RNs, NPs and Doctors.  The Bureau of Labor Services (BLS) tells us that in 2008 (studies usually lag a little- this is from the 2010 report) there were about 750,000 LPN Jobs.  The top locations where Licensed Practical Nurses hold those jobs are hospitals, nursing care facilities, and doctor’s offices.  The BLS is suggesting that employment should grow by more than 20% between 2008 and 2018 and the  LPN job openings will see much of the grown in the area of geriatric care.

There are typically 3 ways to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.

One way is that you can complete a state approved program that will qualify you to to take The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).  The NCLEX-PN must be passed to gain LPN licensure.  This path is commonly pursued by those without any formal education.

Another way is to be “grandfathered” in.  This doesnt apply for those of you just starting out in the healthcare industry, but if you have been around for a long time but have yet to take the NCLEX, you might look in to this path.

The third route is to graduate from a practical nursing program, generally found a colleges and universities.  Be sure to do your research and select an accredited program, as it may make your life easier in the future.

Of course there are always exceptions.

Like in California, you can take pharmacology for a few hours (right now it is about 55 hours) and do bedside experience for a few years (right now it is about 4 years).  Or you can become a corpsman in the US military and do a 12 month active duty with bedside experience along with several courses and an honorable discharge. (Note: your entire tenure may be more than the 12 months.  See your nearest military recruiter for accurate information)

An  LPN job description usually entails a 40 hour work week, but you may need to work nights and weekends.  You can work part-time.  A Licensed Practical Nurse will often be standing or walking for most of your shift.  You will come into close proximity and perhaps contact with some hazardous chemicals or infectious diseases.  Patient care can be difficult work because you must be able to move heavy patients, help calm them when they become agitated or are just plain uncooperative.

It takes a strong personality and a desire to care for people to be a good Licensed Practical Nurse.

If you are currently a Licensed Practical Nurse, I am sure those reading this post that are new to the profession would love to hear about your experiences and your LPN job description.   So, I urge you to make a comment while you are here- though please keep it civil, we dont what to frighten anyone. *wink*


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