Licensed Practical Nurse

Industry:
Healthcare
Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Licensed Practical Nurse, commonly known as an LPN, plays an essential role in the healthcare industry. The job entails working under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians to care for patients. An LPN job description includes providing basic patient care, such as monitoring vital signs, applying dressings, and administering medications as directed. LPNs also assist with diagnostic tests, collect samples, and maintain patient records. 

Additionally, LPNs communicate with patients and their families to provide them with the necessary patient education and emotional support. They observe patients for changes in health status and report any concerns to the healthcare team. Their training includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, and nursing practice, and they typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, and medical clinics. 

In summary, a Licensed Practical Nurse job description involves providing basic patient care, administering medications, and working under the guidance of registered nurses and physicians. They are a vital part of the healthcare industry and an essential member of the healthcare team.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide basic medical care and assist registered nurses and doctors in administering treatments and medications.
  • Monitor and record patient vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.
  • Collect patient health information and update medical records.
  • Help with patient hygiene and personal care, including bathing, feeding, and dressing.
  • Assist patients in walking or moving around the facility safely.
  • Administer injections and perform other minor medical procedures under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Educate patients about health and safety, including how to manage chronic conditions.
  • Communicate with patients and their families about their care plan and answer questions or concerns they may have.
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients.
  • Adhere to all healthcare regulations and policies, and maintain patient confidentiality at all times.

Experience and Education Requirements

To work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in healthcare, you generally need a high school diploma or equivalent, and then you need to go through a state-approved program for LPN training. These programs take about a year to complete, and you'll learn about things like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and patient care. You'll also get hands-on experience through clinical rotations in hospitals or other healthcare settings. Once you complete your LPN training, you'll need to pass a licensing exam to become an LPN. After that, you can work in various healthcare settings, like hospitals, nursing homes, doctor's offices, or home health.

Salary Range

Licensed Practical Nurse salary range varies by experience, location, and facility. In the United States, the median annual salary for LPNs is $48,820, with the bottom 10% earning less than $35,330 and the top 10% earning over $63,360. Salaries also differ by state, with the highest-paid LPNs in Alaska, Massachusetts, and California. Outside the US, LPNs are known as Enrolled Nurses (EN) in Australia, where the median salary is AUD 57,200 ($39,600 USD) per year. In Canada, the median annual salary for LPNs is CAD 54,000 ($42,119 USD). LPNs can expect a rewarding career for providing skilled nursing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient clinics.

Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm
  2. PayScale: https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=LicensedPracticalNurse(LPN)/HourlyRate
  3. Job Bank, Government of Canada: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/wages-occupation/35648/ca

Career Outlook

The career outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in the healthcare industry looks promising over the next five years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of LPNs is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. As the population ages, the demand for healthcare services is increasing, leading to more job opportunities for LPNs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare settings.

Moreover, LPNs can also pursue further education and training to become Registered Nurses (RNs) or advance their careers as Nurse Practitioners. The flexibility of this career path allows for growth and advancement opportunities. Overall, the LPN profession shows no signs of shrinking, but instead, poised for growth and accessibility.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Licensed Practical Nurse do?

A: A Licensed Practical Nurse provides basic medical care and support to patients under the direction of a physician or registered nurse. They are responsible for monitoring patient health, administering medication, and assisting with medical procedures.

Q: What education do I need to become a Licensed Practical Nurse?

A: Most LPNs complete a certificate program, which typically takes one year to complete. They must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed.

Q: Where do Licensed Practical Nurses work?

A: LPNs can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home health agencies.

Q: What skills are required to be a successful Licensed Practical Nurse?

A: LPNs need strong communication skills, empathy, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure. They must also be physically and mentally able to perform the job duties.

Q: What is the job outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses?

A: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for LPNs to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for healthcare services is expected to increase as the baby boomer population ages.


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