Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse

A Licensed Practical Nurse provides basic bedside nursing care to patients under the direction of a physician or registered nurse. The LPN uses scientific and technical expertise and manual skills. Duties within the scope of practice for an LPN typically include, but not limited to, provision of basic hygienic and nursing care, measurement of vital signs, basic patient assessment, documentation, performance of prescribed medical treatments, administration of prescribed medications, and performance of non medicated intravenous therapy and blood withdrawal (requires separate board certification).

Choosing a nursing program is a very personal choice. For many prospective students the choice involves decisions about finances (the need to support self/family), the need to begin school, the time allotted for school and future career plans. Practical Nursing Programs can last from 1 year to 2 years. In order to get into a program, one must also have a high school diploma or GED.Many LPN's in California are members of professional organizations such as the California Licensed Vocational Nurses Association. The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, or are members of specialty organizations.

Employment of LPN's is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2010 in response to the long-term care needs of a rapidly growing elderly population and the general growth of healthcare. Replacement needs will be a major source of job openings, as many workers leave the occupation permanently.

Employment of LPN's in nursing homes is expected to grow faster than average. Nursing homes will off the most new jobs for LPN's as the number of aged and disabled people in need of long-term care rises. In addition to caring for the aged and disabled, nursing homes will be called on to care for the increasing number of patients who have been discharged from the hospital but who have not recovered enough to return home.Work conditions for an LPN include well lit, ventilated and have good equipment. Conditions in some work areas may be crowded and noisy. LPN's generally work 40 hours a week, but since some patients need 24care, they may work nights, weekends, and holidays. Nursing involves prolonged standing, a lot of walking, some lifting, bending, stooping and reaching. Lifting or turning patients can cause back strain. Other dangers include cuts from instruments and exposure to infection and communicable diseases. Dependability, good judgment, adaptability, stability, and an interest in people are important for success. LPN's must also be able to follow detailed instructions.

The number one method to become and LPN is to graduate from a Practical Nursing School and pass the licensure exam. Nursing schools have different requirements for entrance. If you are least 18 years of age have proof of 12th grade education or its equivalent and meet the minimum requirements for admission you may qualify for entry into the Practical Nurse Program.

The salary of a LVN will depend on what setting, hours and days an LPN works. The typical salary for an LPN is approximately $40,000.

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