A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides direct care to patients and is a critical part of a healthcare team. An LPN usually assists a Registered Nurse (RN), and often oversees one or more Certified Nursing Assistant(s) (CNA) to carry out care plans, and maintain patient comfort and well-being. LPNs take on a direct role in providing personal care to those in their charge, often assisting with all areas of the patient’s daily living needs. This enables LPNs to have a hands-on understanding of the care needed and offers the ability to make a positive impact on health outcomes.
In the United States, there are two different job titles given to LPNs based on geographical location. The title of Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is given to individuals practicing in California and Texas, while the title of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is given to people practicing in any other state.
At a minimum, in order to become an LPN, candidates need to have a high school diploma or GED, complete a state-approved nursing educational program, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Individuals working towards becoming an LPN should check licensure requirements issued by their state Board of Nursing to ensure that they are ready to practice in their chosen field and have completed each step necessary to gain licensure. In addition to education and licensure, LPN candidates should display strong moral character and superior communication abilities. Since LPNs are working closely with patients in potentially intense or emergency situations, great candidates will be able to demonstrate that they are truly compassionate, are able to make sound decisions under stress, and are genuinely driven to provide quality care to others.
Obtaining additional certifications as an LPN will not only allow candidates to build their skillset, it will also help them to stand out from the crowd to potential employers. Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is also a great stepping stone for those wanting to become a Registered Nurse (RN). This opens up possibilities for quicker employment offers, higher paying jobs, and more supervisory opportunities than other candidates without previous experience. LPNs who are considering completing an LPN to RN program should consider if they want to obtain an Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN) degree, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, and should make sure that their school of choice offers an accredited educational program. Once the program is completed, graduates will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), and ensure that they are fulfilling all of the requirements put forth by their state Board of Nursing.
There are many career paths for a Licensed Practical Nurse. Choice of certification could lead to jobs in specialized care in a number of areas of healthcare such as, gerontology, pediatrics, pharmacology, correctional care, cardiovascular, and many more. Even without a specialized certification, Licensed Practical Nurses can choose a number of healthcare settings in which to practice including in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), Assisted Living and Senior Living Communities, Home Health, Hospice, Medical Clinics, Physician Offices, Mental Health and Behavioral Health facilities, and Correctional facilities. With a shortage of nurses and healthcare professionals in the industry and a large variety of settings in which LPNs are able to practice, job opportunities are more numerous than in other professions. This opens up opportunities for LPNs to either focus in on one specialty, or try different areas of care to find where their passion truly lies, which is a benefit not all professions are able to offer. Additionally, LPNs are able to work as an Interim LPN, commonly known as a Travel LPN, and are able to expand their licensure to other states. Typically, Travel LPN jobs are set for a period of 30, 60 or 90 days, which provides opportunities to learn new systems, skills, and experience different work environments. These valuable skills can prove beneficial in career advancement.
The job outlook for LPNs is excellent! The U.S. Board of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment for LPNs is projected to increase by at least 9% by the year 2029. This anticipated growth is much faster than other industries, due to the aging of the general population. LPNs will be needed in a greater capacity to meet this rising demand, and to fill vacant positions left by previous healthcare workers entering retirement age. With an already existing shortage in nurses, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, LPNs are needed more than ever.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Licensed Practical Nurses can expect an annual salary range between $34,560 and $63,360. The healthcare setting in which an LPN is employed can make a significant impact on salary earnings. Typically, LPNs that are employed in the Long-Term Care setting are paid higher wages than LPNs in other healthcare settings. In addition, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and due to staffing shortages, many employers have offered higher earnings and sign-on bonuses to nursing candidates.
LeaderStat is a trusted partner with many healthcare organizations and helps to fill Licensed Practical Nurse positions across the country. Our healthcare industry recruiters are knowledgeable of market trends, credentialing requirements, and healthcare recruitment, making them an invaluable resource to job seekers looking for a great career opportunity. In addition to a great recruitment team, LeaderStat offers numerous resources to candidates, including how to search for a new job, and tips to make your resume stand out to employers.
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