Requirements For An LPN

Becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) within the United States consists of two steps: First, one must fulfill an education requirement; second, one must pass a licensing exam. Here I will be discussing the general national LPN requirements for licensure, though it should be noted that there exists some state variation. The authority on each state's conventions lies with that state's Board of Nurses, and I would suggest that those interested in becoming an LPN, to begin their investigation by contacting their local board.

The education requirement is satisfied by completing a LPN program, typically offered by a vocational school, private college, or community college. This program must be approved and accredited by its respective state's Board of Nurses and upon completion, qualifies the candidate to take the licensing exam. Programs take anywhere from 1 year to 2 years to complete, in which students pursue both supervised clinical practice and classroom study. Subjects include anatomy and physiology, nutrition, pharmacology, medical surgical nursing, obstetrics, pediatrics and psychiatric nursing. In 2006 there were over 1500 state”approved LPN training programs. There exists a number of online resources for finding an approved program in your area.

The PN licensing exam, referred to as the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse) is administered by state boards. The content of the NCLEX-PN is complicated, so I will only go over it briefly. It is based upon the perceived needs of clients. Some topics include: health promotion and maintenance, psychological integrity, physiological integrity and maintaining a safe and effective care environment. PN licenses require periodic renewal; conventions vary from state to state, and may include a continuing education requirement as well as a fee.

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