A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a professional who provides for the basic needs of patients under the guidance of a registered nurse or physician. An LPN must complete an approved education program, generally earning a certificate, and pass an examination in order to be licensed by their state of practice. Specialization in the career field of pediatrics generally requires prior experience in patient care and a desire to work with children.
|Required Education||Certificate in licensed practical nursing|
|Licensure||License required in all states|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||25% for all licensed practical and vocational nurses|
|Median Salary (2013)*||$41,920 for all licensed practical and vocational nurses|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Pediatric LPN Career Information
An LPN may work in-home with patients, or at hospitals and doctor's offices. Workers often care for chronically ill or injured patients, assisting with bathing, eating, standing and walking. Other responsibilities include drug administration, bodily fluid sample collection and vital sign measurement. An LPN may engage in various playtime activities in order to help increase the quality of life for pediatric clients.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that the field of licensed practical nursing is expected to grow much faster than the average for all professions between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Though no data exists for pediatric-specific fields, LPNs in general earned a median salary of $41,920 in 2013, according to the BLS. The majority of LPNs are employed at nursing home facilities and hospitals.
In order to qualify for a state licensing exam, prospective LPNs must complete an approved education program. These education programs are often full-time, entailing between 40 and 80 credit hours of lecture and clinical study. Programs might include classes on pediatric care, though few programs exist that specialize in pediatrics. Most programs culminate in a certificate of achievement.
The practical nursing licensure exam, or NCLEX-PN, is administered by the National Council for Licensure Examination. This exam generally covers the areas of health promotion, psychosocial integrity, effective care environments and physiological integrity. Additional licensure is not required for an LPN to work in a pediatric environment. More often than not, employers provide qualified LPNs with on-the-job training in the specialized care of children.
Some states require continuing education credits to maintain LPN licensure. Continuing education coursework may be available through national and local nursing associations or colleges. Course credits from an LPN program can often be applied towards an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. Graduates of an undergraduate nursing program can become registered nurses by taking the NCLEX-RN exam offered by the National Council for Licensure Examination.