What Does a Practical Nurse Do?
Are you a compassionate “people person” with an interest in medicine? If helping others in a direct, hands-on way in a healthcare setting appeals to you, pursuing LPN programs can help you build a rewarding career in nursing.
What can I do as a licensed practical nurse?
Working under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor, you perform a variety of daily tasks:
- Provide patient assistance with eating, bathing, dressing or resting more comfortably
- Measure vital signs: check blood pressure, heart rate
- Collect samples for testing and perform routine laboratory tests
- Provide basic care: start IV drips, give medication, dress wounds, insert catheters
- Monitor medication and a patient's response
- Update doctors and registered nurses on a patient's status; maintain records of patients' health histories
- Help to deliver, care for and feed infants
- Discuss the care you are providing with patients and listen to their concerns
- Help family members learn to care for a relative
State regulations vary both in the specific duties an LPN can perform and how much RN or physician supervision is required. In some states, an experienced licensed practical nurse is allowed to oversee and manage other LPNs and unlicensed medical staff.
Where will I find employment as an LPN?
You can choose to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, based on your own unique interests and passions. LPNs are found in physicians' offices, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities and in private homes. Your duties will vary depending on the specific environment.
In a fast-paced hospital setting, you’d perform more critical care, surgical, and emergency-based tasks, and your medical duties would be more advanced. A position in a doctor’s office might find you doing more administrative tasks including appointment setting and recordkeeping, assisting patients before exams, and administering medications.
You could even combine your love of travel with a nursing career and become a travel nurse. You accept short-term assignments in remote locations during emergencies or in times of nursing shortages.
What is the job growth outlook for licensed practical nurses?
As the baby boom population ages and people live longer, the need for licensed practical nurses is expected to increase by 16 percent, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. A projected 117,300 new jobs will be created from 2014 to 2024.
This faster-than-average growth rate will be especially noticeable by residential care facilities and in-home health environments. Technological advances and an emphasis on “aging in place” leave many elderly people needing daily help in their homes. America currently faces a nursing shortage, and the BLS predicts that as many LPNs retire over the next decade, job opportunities will be plentiful for individuals entering the field.
What credentials do I need to practice as an LPN?
While a degree is not required to be an LPN, you do need a formal educational training program that provides a certificate or diploma. Look for a program that offers hands-on clinical work experience from a school that is accredited and approved by the state's board of nursing.
Once you graduate from your program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to practice.
To learn more about our Regulatory Information: https://www.brownmackie.edu/policies/social-media-overview Brown Mackie College does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to Brown Mackie College.