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Traveling LPN Nurses: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a traveling licensed practical nurse (LPN). Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certifications to find out if this is the career for you.

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A licensed practical nurse (LPN) must have a certificate or diploma in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Employers typically require six years of nursing experience before an LPN can be a traveling LPN.

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Essential Information

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses (RNs) and provides care to patients in hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes, or a patient's residence. Traveling LPNs travel to different areas of the country in order to fill nursing shortages for three months to a year. In order to become a traveling LPN, one must complete a state-approved program and should have several years of experience as a non-traveling LPN.

Required Education Certificate or diploma
Other Requirements Licensure issued upon completion of NCLEX-PN exam; work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 16% for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $43,170 for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses (RNs) and provides care to patients. LPNs may be responsible for taking and recording a patient's vitals, such as their blood pressure, pulse, height, weight, temperature, and respiration. Other duties that an LPN is typically responsible for include giving enemas, dressing wounds, treating bedsores, monitoring fluid intake, collecting samples, maintaining medical equipment, and monitoring catheters. They also help patients bathe, eat, and get dressed, as well as help them move in bed, stand, or walk.

Since LPNs work closely with patients, they are responsible for knowing a patient's health history. They must monitor how patients are feeling and how they react to medications and treatments. LPNs take this information and use it to fill out insurance forms, make referrals, and inform RNs and doctors about a patient's treatment. In some states, LPNs are allowed to administer medications and start intravenous fluids (IVs). LPNs who have a lot of experience may supervise nursing assistants.

Traveling Logistics

Traveling LPNs travel to different areas of the country in order to fill nursing shortages in medical facilities. These locations may include hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes, or a patient's residence. Traveling nurses work under contract and their contracts usually last between three months and a year. Employers often pay for travel expenses and provide housing or housing subsidies.

Since LPNs have licenses that are accredited by their state, it is advantageous for traveling LPNs to hire a nursing recruiter when looking for out-of-state positions. This way the recruiter may help get them a temporary license for the state in which they want to work. The process for obtaining travel assignments involves a lot of paperwork and it commonly takes two to four weeks to secure a position.

Traveling LPN Nurse Education Requirements

In order to become a traveling LPN, one must complete a state-approved practical nursing program. These programs are often available at community colleges and vocational schools, and take about a year to complete. After completing one of these programs, graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to become licensed. Employers typically request that LPNs have at least six years of experience before they may take on travel positions.

LPNs often engage in career-long training since many states and employers have continuing education requirements that must be completed at regular intervals. LPNs may also earn optional credentials if they wish to specialize in a specific area, such as gerontology, pharmacology, IV therapy or long-term care.

LPNs only need a postsecondary certificate to qualify for professional licensure. Traveling LPNs may spend a number of months working in areas where there are nursing shortages. They work under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses.

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