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Emergency Licensed Practical Nurse: Career Info and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an emergency licensed practical nurse. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) interested in specializing in emergency care can acquire on-the-job experience in urgent care settings before ultimately continuing their education to become emergency care RNs. About 728,900 LPNs were employed in 2018, whereas employment of nearly 807,000 is anticipated for 2028.

Essential Information

Licensed practical nurses may have occasion to work in emergency rooms or urgent care settings, but are not eligible to become emergency nurses; that designation is open only to registered nurses. This article details career information and requirements for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and outlines how LPNs might prepare themselves for a transition to registered and emergency nursing. LPNs must hold at least a certificate in practical nursing and be licensed to practice in their state.

Required Education Certificate in practical nursing
Other Requirements Licensure as a practical nurse by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 11% for all licensed practical nurses*
Median Salary (2018) $46,240 for all licensed practical nurses*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Emergency Licensed Practical Nurse Career Info

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs). They perform such basic duties as monitoring the health of patients, changing bandages or helping patients bathe. In addition to sterilizing equipment, taking patients' vital signs and collecting samples, these nurses should also be able to respond to emergency situations or participate in emergency care on a patient.

While LPNs can't become certified as emergency nurses, they can prepare for an eventual career in this field by completing training programs and work experiences that cover emergency situations. LPNs can also become affiliate members of the Emergency Nurses Association, which provides professional development, publications and training resources in emergency care.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), licensed practical nurses could see employment growth which is much faster than the average through 2028. This growth rate would be in response to increased healthcare needs expected for an aging population. In May 2018, the BLS reported that LPNs in the 90th percentile or higher earned $62,160 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $33,680 or less per year.

Requirements for Emergency Licensed Practical Nurses

Aspiring LPNs need to complete a 1-year educational program and acquire a license. These programs generally result in a certificate and prepare students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) for practical nurses.

Certificate programs generally cover basic nursing principles and provide clinical training opportunities. While specific courses in emergency care may not be available in LPN programs, many courses cover emergency nursing concepts, and students are expected to learn how to handle emergency situations. The NCLEX-PN can be taken after completing a certificate program; the test includes questions on medical emergencies, response plans and emergency situation response.

Emergency Nurse Certification

After getting work experience as LPNs, aspiring emergency nurses might consider enrolling in programs to become RNs. Diploma, associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available that can prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs are able to pursue certification through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) to become Certified Emergency Nurses (CEN). To earn the CEN designation, the BCEN suggests that registered nurses acquire experience in emergency nursing prior to taking the exam.

LPNs must complete a certificate program in nursing and pass an exam in order to become licensed. They can then pursue additional training to learn about emergency nursing procedures and work toward RN licensure, which is the minimum requirement to work as an emergency nurse.

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