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Online Diploma in Practical Nursing: Program Information

Research online licensed practical nurse (LPN) courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

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Essential Information

An LPN program teaches students to be providers of basic medical care. Some of the courses in an LPN diploma program can be completed through online study, but the clinical experience portion of the program must be done in a healthcare facility. Specifically, this involves on-campus lab work and clinical rotations.

Programs are commonly offered through technical or community colleges. These diploma programs usually take a year to complete, but that varies depending on part-time or full-time attendance. Applying to these programs typically requires having completed medical terminology, nursing assistant, microcomputers and biology courses. Additionally, applicants must have CPR certification.

Accredited online diploma programs in licensed practical nursing qualify graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), and normally a preparation exam is included in the program. All states require that LPNs be licensed, and passing the NCLEX-PN is a requirement for licensing.

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Diploma in Practical Nursing

Training in online LPN diploma programs prepares attendees for state-approved licensure in the field. These programs focus on such nursing subjects as anatomy, physiology, nutrition, pharmacology and first aid. Common prerequisites include courses on medical terminology, nursing assistance, microcomputers and biology, along with certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A background in science and experience in the healthcare field are also helpful.

Information and Requirements

Courses are completed online, though on-campus lab work and in-person clinical rotations in a health care setting is required. Instructors teach students using traditional academic standards and work with attendees online to ensure success in the programs.

Technical requirements include access to a personal computer and Internet service provider (ISP) to attend classes, order books and access school-specific learning programs. For communication, e-mail access is required, and some schools provide an e-mail account through their systems. Also, it is suggested that prospective students have skills in navigating the Internet, creating documents, saving files and sending e-mails with attachments.

List of Common Courses

These programs focus on the writing, language and sciences related to practical nursing. Courses vary by school, but some are common to all online LPN diploma programs. General education requirements do not normally apply to diploma programs; however, those wishing to continue in a degree program should consult with a school counselor or advisor for guidance.

Practical Nursing

This course focuses on basic nursing principles and roles. Students also learn nursing-related concepts of rest and sleep, pain and comfort, fluid and electrolytes, nutrition, communication, documentation, elimination, psychological balance and legal issues.

Anatomy and Physiology

Basic functions and structures of the human body, including cellular and organ systems, are the concentration of this class. Some of the topics covered include tissues, cells, nutrition, homeostasis and electrolytes. Prerequisite high school or college biology courses in anatomy and physiology are highly recommended prior to enrollment.

Developmental Psychology

Human growth and development related to psychosocial, physical, psychoanalytic, learning, humanistic and cognitive skills from birth to death are the focus of this course. Other skills covered are research analysis and application of data.


Career Information for Graduates

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that licensed practical and vocational nurses earned a median annual wage of $43,170 and held about 697,250 positions as of May 2015. The industry with the highest level of employment was in nursing care facilities, consisting of 212,980 of the positions. Workers in these settings earned a mean annual wage of $45,060 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Those wishing to continue their education or become registered nurses (RNs) can continue in a nursing associate's degree program or enroll in an LPN-RN program at many schools. Nurses can also continue their education in bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degree programs.

Licensed practical nurse diploma programs typically require significant hands-on training, so students may have to complete some in-person components in addition to online coursework. These programs prepare aspiring LPN's for state licensing through classes on nursing principles, anatomy and physiology.

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