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LPN Courses and Career Education Programs to Become a LPN

Learn how to become a licensed practical nurse. Research the education and career requirements, licensure, and experience required for starting a career as a licensed practical nurse. View article »

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  • 0:03 Become a Licensed…
  • 0:51 Career Requirements
  • 1:29 Step 1: Start a…
  • 1:57 Step 2: Clinical Internship
  • 2:19 Step 3: Licensure and…

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Video Transcript

Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses, referred to as LPNs, work under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse and provide basic medical care in a healthcare setting. Duties of an LPN include monitoring patients' health by checking blood pressure and vitals, applying dressings, assisting with bathing, collecting blood samples, and keeping records.

LPNs usually work full-time, although some part-time positions are available. Shifts may be longer than eight hours and could be scheduled during the day, night, or weekends. The job can be physically demanding because LPNs often help lift, move, and assist patients. Nursing work can be very stressful as well as rewarding. There is a risk of exposure to infectious diseases while working with patients.

Career Requirements

Degree Level A certificate
Degree Field Nursing
Experience Experience in a clinical setting will be part of a training program
Licensure and Certification License required in all states
Key Skills Compassion towards patients, strong communication skills, detail-oriented, and knowledge of basic medical procedures
Salary $43,170 per year (Median salary for licensed practical nurses)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May, 2015)

Step 1: Start a Certificate Program

Students can complete an LPN certificate program in about one year. Before enrolling, students many need to complete a placement test. Once in an LPN program, students will be required to complete general science and nursing courses. General science courses include human biology, psychology, and gerontology. The nursing curriculum focuses on areas involving the fundamentals of nursing, nutrition, pharmacology, and clinical leadership.

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Step 2: Clinical Internship

A clinical internship will be a required part of an LPN program. This is an opportunity for students to begin applying what they have learned in the classroom and to begin working with patients. Students may have a chance to intern in various medical facilities, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers. An internship will foster the student-to-nurse transition.

Step 3: Licensure and Advancement

Graduating from an LPN program will qualify an individual for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse, offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. All states require that LPNs pass this exam in order to work in a medical setting. Passing this exam ensures that an LPN has the knowledge and skills to work in the field and care for patients.

Once an individual is licensed as an LPN, he or she may look to advance in this field. One route for advancement is to consider IV therapy training. This training program will qualify an LPN to administer IV therapy to patients. Thinking long-term? LPNs may want to look into RN training. This is usually a bachelor's degree program that takes several years to complete. Having this degree will greatly increase one's value as an employee.

LPNs are licensed practical nurses that need to complete a training program and pass an exam in order to become licensed to work in a medical setting and help other medical staff by providing basic medical care to patients, monitoring patient health, and assisting with patient record keeping.

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