A career as a licensed practical nurse

An LPN, licensed practical nurse is an individual who has gone through a program dedicated to practical nursing, the duration of the program is normally one year. Once licensed, LPNs can be given a number of tasks to accomplish which are related to the care of a patient, but in all cases they must be under the direct supervision of an RN, registered nurse or a medical doctor. Over time licensed practical nurses can enroll in a LPN-BSN program to become registered nurses.

RNs have had more training than LPNs, this additional training, both practical and in a classroom setting allows the RN to perform procedures which are beyond the scope of the LPN, they are granted more independence although they too work in cooperation with a medical doctor. Nurse practitioners have received additional training again and have close to the same training and capabilities as a doctor. The nursing profession is extremely varied and there are a number of levels available all based on the training.

Under direct supervision an LPN can perform a number of functions such as starting an IV line, administer medication, draw samples of blood, etc, take patients vitals and dress wounds. As they progress in the profession many take a cross over course from LPN-BSN which opens up new areas of activity and responsibility. In the meantime the LPN charts the progress of patients under his or her care and provides updates to the supervisors, be they RNs or doctors. Although being an LPN is considered an entry level position, they can supervise orderlies and nursing assistants depending on the working environment and conditions. As the LPN gains experience and knowledge the next logical step is to purse becoming a RN.

The work place for an LPN is varied, many of course work in a hospital setting but many also work in residential facilities caring for the elderly or the terminally ill. It is possible to work as an in-home care giver when one has a LPN certificate. Depending on where the practitioner works, the wages can vary considerably as can the benefits.

Generally speaking, an LPN is a graduate of a vocational school or community college, both of which offer this course.

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