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What Does a Licensed Practical Nurse Do?

What Does a Licensed Practical Nurse Do?
By MegaInterview Company Career Coach

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a healthcare professional who provides basic care to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. LPNs are responsible for administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and providing basic patient care. One of the most important factors that people consider when considering becoming an LPN is their salary.

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This article will provide an overview of the typical salary range for LPNs and factors that can affect earnings and career advancement opportunities. It will also explore the current state of LPN salary trends and how they may change in the future.

Licensed Practical Nurse salary Duties & Responsibilities.

The duties and responsibilities of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) include:

  • Providing basic patient care: LPNs are responsible for providing basic care to patients, including bathing, dressing, and grooming. They also take vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature, and report any changes to the registered nurse or physician.
  • Administering medication: LPNs are responsible for administering medication to patients as prescribed by the physician. This includes preparing and administering medication and monitoring patients for any adverse reactions.
  • Assisting with medical procedures: LPNs may assist physicians or registered nurses with such procedures as wound care, catheterization, and enemas.
  • Recording patient information: They are responsible for keeping accurate records of patients’ vital signs, symptoms, and other observations. They also communicate with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians and registered nurses, to update them on patients’ conditions.
  • Providing emotional support: LPNs often provide emotional support to patients and their families. They may also provide education and guidance to patients on how to manage their conditions.
  • Following infection control and safety protocols: LPNs are responsible for following infection control and safety protocols to protect themselves and their patients from infection and injury.
  • Participating in continuing education and professional development: They must maintain their licensure by participating in continuing education and professional development.

An LPN’s specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on the setting in which they work, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, or clinics.

Licensed Practical Nurse Job Requirements

The requirements for becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) include:

  • Education: To become an LPN, you must complete a state-approved practical nursing program, which typically takes about one year to complete. Vocational schools, community colleges, and universities offer these programs.
  • Training: After completing the practical nursing program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) in order to become licensed.
  • Experience: Some states require that LPNs have a certain amount of work experience before becoming licensed. This experience may be gained through internships, externships, or volunteer work.
  • Certification and Licenses: LPNs must be licensed by their state’s board of nursing. Licensing requirements vary by state but typically include passing the NCLEX-PN exam, completing an approved practical nursing program, and passing a background check.
  • Continuing Education: LPNs are required to maintain their licensure by participating in continuing education courses and meeting continuing education requirements.
  • Physical and Mental Demands: LPNs need to be physically and mentally fit to perform their duties, which include lifting and moving patients, standing for long periods of time, and responding quickly to emergencies.
  • Communication Skills: LPNs must have strong communication skills to be able to interact effectively with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Emotional Stability: LPNs must be emotionally stable and able to handle the stress of working in a healthcare setting.
  • Compassion: LPNs must have a compassionate and caring attitude to provide quality care to patients.

Licensed Practical Nurse Skills

The skills required for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) include:

  • Patient care: LPNs must have the ability to provide basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. They should also have knowledge of basic patient care procedures, such as taking vital signs and administering medication.
  • Medical knowledge: LPNs should have a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology and knowledge of common medical conditions and their treatments.
  • Communication: LPNs must have strong communication skills to interact effectively with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals. They must be able to explain medical procedures and treatments in layman’s terms and understand the patient’s needs and concerns.
  • Critical thinking: LPNs must be able to think critically and make decisions quickly. They must be able to assess a patient’s condition, identify potential problems, and take appropriate action.
  • Time management: LPNs must manage their time effectively and prioritize their tasks to ensure that all patients receive the care they need.
  • Attention to detail: LPNs must be meticulous and detail-oriented, as even small errors in patient care can have serious consequences.
  • Empathy: LPNs must be able to empathize with patients and understand their feelings and concerns. They must be able to provide emotional support and be a good listener.
  • Physical and mental stamina: LPNs must have physical and mental stamina to handle the demands of the job, which can be physically and emotionally demanding.
  • Flexibility: LPNs must be flexible and adaptable, as they may work in different settings and with different types of patients.
  • Technical skills: LPNs must be proficient with computers, electronic medical records, and other technical equipment used in healthcare settings.

Licensed Practical Nurse Salary

The salary for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) can vary depending on a number of factors, including location, employer, and years of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for LPNs in the United States is $48,500. The BLS also states that the lowest 10 percent of LPNs earn less than $38,040, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $62,430.

However, LPN salary can also vary depending on the state, with some states having a higher median wage than others. According to the BLS, the highest-paying states for LPNs are:

  • California: $58,450
  • Hawaii: $57,420
  • Massachusetts: $57,040
  • Alaska: $56,340
  • Oregon: $55,670

It’s worth noting that the salary of LPNs can also vary depending on the setting in which they work. For example, LPNs working in nursing homes may earn less than those working in hospitals. Additionally, LPNs with additional certifications or experience may earn more than those without. Overall, LPNs can expect to see an increase in their salary as they gain more experience in the field and take on more responsibilities.

Licensed Practical Nurse Work Environment

The work environment for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) can vary depending on the setting in which they work. Some common work environments for LPNs include:

  • Hospitals: LPNs may work in hospitals, where they provide basic patient care under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians. They may work in various departments, such as emergency rooms, critical care, or medical-surgical units.
  • Nursing homes: LPNs may work in nursing homes, providing basic patient care to older adults. They may also assist with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing and dressing.
  • Clinics: LPNs may work in clinics, where they provide basic patient care under the supervision of physicians. They may also assist with medical procedures, such as vaccinations and wound care.
  • Rehabilitation centers: LPNs may work in rehabilitation centers, providing basic patient care for recovering from injuries or illnesses.
  • Home health care: LPNs may work in home health care, where they provide basic patient care in patient’s homes. They may also assist with ADLs and administer medication.
  • Schools: LPNs may work in schools where they provide basic patient care to students and staff.

LPNs typically work in fast-paced environments and may be required to stand for long periods, lift and move patients, and respond quickly to emergencies. LPNs may work in various settings and shifts, including evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.

Licensed Practical Nurse Trends

The latest trends in licensed practical nurse (LPN) salary include:

  • Growth in demand: The demand for LPNs is expected to grow, driven by an aging population and a greater emphasis on preventative care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of LPNs will grow by 11 percent from 2020 to 2030.
  • Increase in salary: As the demand for LPNs increases, so does the potential for higher salaries. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for LPNs in the United States is $48,500 and is expected to rise in the coming years.
  • Geographic variations: LPN salaries can vary depending on location, with some states having a higher median wage than others. For example, the BLS states that the highest-paying states for LPNs are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Oregon.
  • Setting variations: LPNs working in certain settings, such as hospitals or home health care, may earn more than those working in other settings, such as nursing homes.
  • Advancement opportunities: LPNs who wish to advance their careers can gain additional certifications or further their education to become registered nurse (RN).
  • Telehealthcare: Telehealthcare is becoming more prevalent in the healthcare system, and LPNs trained in telehealthcare may have more job opportunities and better remuneration.
  • Remote work: LPNs may have more opportunities to work from home, which could provide more flexibility and better work-life balance.

It’s worth noting that these trends are subject to change depending on various factors, and it is best to consult the latest data from official sources to get an accurate picture.

How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Graduate from high school or earn a GED: To be eligible for an LPN program, you must have completed or earned a GED.
  • Enroll in an LPN program: LPN programs are typically offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and universities. These programs typically take about 12 to 18 months to complete.
  • Complete the program and pass the NCLEX-PN: Once you have completed an LPN program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to be licensed.
  • Obtain licensure: After passing the NCLEX-PN, you must apply for licensure with your state’s board of nursing. Each state has its own licensing requirements, but most require that you pass the NCLEX-PN and have graduated from an approved LPN program.
  • Seek employment: Once licensed, you can seek employment as an LPN. Some states may require additional training or certification for certain types of work, such as working in a long-term care facility.
  • Maintain licensure: LPNs are required to maintain their licensure by participating in continuing education courses and meeting continuing education requirements.

It’s worth noting that the requirements to become an LPN may vary by state, so it’s important to check with your state’s board of nursing to determine the specific requirements in your area.

Licensed Practical Nurse Advancement Prospects

There are a few ways for a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to advance their career:

  • Further education: LPNs can further their education to become a registered nurses (RN) by completing an associate or bachelor’s degree program in nursing. This will provide them with more advanced patient care responsibilities and may lead to higher earning potential.
  • Specialization: LPNs can specialize in a specific area of nursing, such as pediatrics, gerontology, or mental health. Specialization can lead to higher earning potential and job opportunities.
  • Certification: LPNs can obtain certification in a specific area of nursing, such as gerontology, hospice, palliative care, or intravenous therapy. Certification can also lead to higher earning potential and job opportunities.
  • Management: LPNs can advance to supervisory or management roles, such as charge nurse or nursing supervisor, which may give them higher earning potential and more administrative responsibilities.
  • Entrepreneurship: LPNs can start their own business and provide nursing services to patients in their own homes.
  • Telehealthcare: LPNs trained in telehealthcare may have more job opportunities and better remuneration.

It’s worth noting that the advancement prospects for LPNs may vary depending on the location and the specific job market. It’s important to research the specific job market and opportunities where you wish to work and plan accordingly.

Licensed Practical Nurse Job Description Example

Here is an example job description for an Uber Eats driver position:

Job Title: Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Job Description:

We are seeking a skilled and compassionate Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to join our healthcare team. As an LPN, you will play a vital role in providing high-quality care to our patients. Your responsibilities will include administering medications, assisting with procedures, documenting patient information, and collaborating with the healthcare team to ensure optimal patient outcomes. If you are a dedicated and empathetic healthcare professional with a passion for making a difference in patient’s lives, we encourage you to apply for this rewarding position.

Responsibilities:

  • Administer medications, observe and document their effects, and report any adverse reactions to the healthcare team.
  • Assist with patient assessments, take vital signs, and record patient information accurately.
  • Collaborate with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to develop and implement patient care plans.
  • Assist with various medical procedures, including wound care, catheterization, and specimen collection.
  • Provide emotional support and educate patients and their families on healthcare management and disease prevention.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date patient records, ensuring confidentiality and compliance with regulatory guidelines.
  • Monitor patient progress and report any changes in condition or concerns to the healthcare team.
  • Adhere to infection control protocols and maintain a clean and safe patient care environment.
  • Collaborate effectively with other healthcare professionals to ensure seamless coordination of patient care.

Qualifications:

  • Valid Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) license from an accredited nursing program.
  • Current CPR certification.
  • Excellent clinical skills, including medication administration and proficiency in nursing procedures.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to empathize with patients and collaborate with the healthcare team.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in documentation and record-keeping.
  • Ability to multitask, prioritize, and adapt to changing patient needs.
  • Knowledge of healthcare laws, regulations, and best practices.
  • Commitment to providing compassionate, patient-centered care.

If you are a dedicated LPN seeking a fulfilling role where you can contribute to improving patients’ lives, we invite you to apply. Join our team of healthcare professionals and make a meaningful impact on patient care and outcomes.

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