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Become A Practical Nurse

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Working As A Practical Nurse

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $71,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Practical Nurse Do

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic medical care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors.

Duties

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses typically do the following:

  • Monitor patients’ health—for example, by checking their blood pressure
  • Administer basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
  • Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress
  • Discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns
  • Report patients’ status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
  • Keep records on patients’ health

Duties of LPNs and LVNs vary, depending on their work setting and the state in which they work. For example, they may reinforce teaching done by registered nurses regarding how family members should care for a relative; help to deliver, care for, and feed infants; collect samples for testing and do routine laboratory tests; or feed patients who need help eating.

LPNs and LVNs may be limited to doing certain tasks, depending on the state where they work. For example, in some states, LPNs with proper training can give medication or start intravenous (IV) drips, but in other states LPNs cannot perform these tasks. State regulations also govern the extent to which LPNs and LVNs must be directly supervised. For example, an LPN may provide certain forms of care only with instructions from a registered nurse.

In some states, experienced licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses oversee and direct other LPNs or LVNs and unlicensed medical staff.

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How To Become A Practical Nurse

Becoming a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse (LPN or LVN) requires completing an approved educational program. LPNs and LVNs also must have a license.

Education

LPNs and LVNs must complete an approved educational program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete, but may take longer. They are commonly found in technical schools and community colleges, although some programs may be available in high schools or hospitals.

Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology. All programs also include supervised clinical experience.

Contact state boards of nursing for lists of approved programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs and LVNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN or LVN. For more information on the NCLEX-PN examination and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

LPNs and LVNs may choose to become certified through professional associations in areas such as gerontology and IV therapy. Certifications show that an LPN or LVN has an advanced level of knowledge about a specific subject.

In addition, employers may prefer to hire candidates who are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Compassion. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses must be empathetic and caring toward the people they serve.

Detail oriented. LPNs and LVNs need to be responsible and detail oriented, because they must make sure that patients get the correct care at the right time.

Interpersonal skills. Interacting with patients and other healthcare providers is a big part of their jobs, so LPNs and LVNs need good interpersonal skills.

Patience. Dealing with sick and injured people may be stressful. LPNs and LVNs should be patient, so they can cope with any stress that stems from providing care to these patients.

Physical stamina. LPNs and LVNs should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for a long time.

Speaking skills. It is important that LPNs and LVNs be able to communicate effectively. For example, they may need to relay information about a patient’s current condition to a registered nurse.

Advancement

With experience, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses may advance to supervisory positions. Some LPNs and LVNs advance to other healthcare occupations. For example, an LPN may complete a LPN to RN education program to become a registered nurse.

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Practical Nurse Jobs

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Practical Nurse Career Paths

Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager
Director Of Case Management
11 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Consultant Nurse Nursing Director
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Nurse Consultant Nurse Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Case Manager Nursing Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Instructor Therapist
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Clinical Coordinator Nurse Manager
Nursing Services Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Nurse Head Nurse Nurse Manager
Emergency Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Nurse Manager Clinical Manager
Manager Of Clinical Services
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Clinical Supervisor Director Of Social Services
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Clinical Nurse Specialist Nurse Educator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Hospice Director
12 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Nurse Coordinator Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner House Supervisor Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Office Manager Billing Manager
Reimbursement Director
10 Yearsyrs
Home Health Nurse Legal Nurse Consultant Quality Improvement Coordinator
Quality Improvement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Home Care Nurse Occupational Health Nurse Health Coach
Wellness Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Home Care Nurse Ambulatory Care Coordinator Social Work Case Manager
Geriatric Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Practical Nurse?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Staff Nurse 6.0 years
Head Nurse 4.5 years
Nurse Coordinator 3.5 years
Pediatric Nurse 3.5 years
Nurse 3.2 years
Field Nurse 3.1 years
Practical Nurse 3.0 years
Triage Nurse 2.8 years
Home Health Nurse 2.7 years
Home Care Nurse 2.7 years
Top Careers Before Practical Nurse
Staff Nurse 19.7%
Nurse 5.4%
Cashier 2.0%
Head Nurse 1.4%
Top Careers After Practical Nurse
Nurse 6.9%
Cashier 1.9%

Do you work as a Practical Nurse?

Practical Nurse Demographics

Gender

Female

71.6%

Unknown

15.9%

Male

12.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.4%

French

7.8%

Vietnamese

2.6%

Portuguese

2.6%

Chinese

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Hebrew

1.7%

Bambara

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Tagalog

1.7%

Mandarin

0.9%

Finnish

0.9%

Maltese

0.9%

Thai

0.9%

Croatian

0.9%

Nepali

0.9%

Filipino

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Italian

0.9%

Greek

0.9%
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Practical Nurse Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.2%

Excelsior College

7.8%

Walden University

7.3%

Vanderbilt University

7.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.4%

University of Cincinnati

5.8%

University of Pennsylvania

5.8%

The Academy

5.2%

Grand Canyon University

5.2%

Chamberlain College of Nursing

4.7%

Rutgers University-Newark

4.4%

New York University

4.1%

Seton Hall University

3.8%

Governors State University

3.5%

Maryville University of Saint Louis

3.5%

University of Central Arkansas

3.2%

Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES

3.2%

ECPI University

2.9%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

2.9%

Texas Woman's University

2.9%
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Majors

Nursing

76.4%

Nursing Assistants

2.9%

Business

2.5%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

2.3%

Family Practice Nursing

2.3%

Nursing Science

2.2%

Education

1.7%

Health Care Administration

1.6%

Clinical Psychology

1.2%

Psychology

1.0%

Medical Assisting Services

1.0%

Public Health

0.8%

Management

0.7%

Liberal Arts

0.6%

General Studies

0.5%

Health Sciences And Services

0.5%

Biology

0.5%

Medicine

0.5%

Medical Technician

0.4%

English

0.4%
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Degrees

Masters

26.9%

Other

20.7%

Bachelors

15.3%

Associate

10.5%

Diploma

10.3%

Certificate

7.3%

License

5.5%

Doctorate

3.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$71,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$49,000
Min 10%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
LifeBridge Health
Highest Paying City
Saint Cloud, MN
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Practical Nurse make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Practical Nurse in the United States is $72,058 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $50,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $103,000.

Real Practical Nurse Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Advance Practice Nurse 1 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Jul 23, 2015 $97,843
Advanced Practice Nurse Ut Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX Jan 11, 2016 $95,700
Advanced Practice Nurse Murtis Taylor Human Services Systems Cleveland, OH Jan 10, 2012 $94,000
Advanced Practice Nurse Loyola University Medical Center Maywood, IL Nov 07, 2016 $93,000 -
$98,000
Physician Practice Nurse Practitioner Memorial Hermann Health System Stafford, TX Dec 20, 2015 $91,499
Advanced Practice Nurse Daughters of Charity Health Services of Austin Austin, TX Jun 01, 2011 $85,567 -
$106,437
Clinical Practical Nurse The Rogosin Institute New York, NY Sep 28, 2016 $82,000
Advance Practice Nurse Db Healthcare, Inc. Boston, MA Aug 31, 2011 $77,824
Clinical Practical Nurse The Rogosin Institute New York, NY Sep 27, 2016 $75,000
Advance Practice Cardiac Nurse Greenpath Health Group Zion, IL Mar 27, 2012 $71,906
Advance Practice Cardiac Nurse Greenpath Health Group Zion, IL Apr 12, 2012 $71,906
Advanced Practice Nurse North Point Internal Medicine Alpharetta, GA Feb 01, 2012 $68,000 -
$72,000
Advanced Practice Nurse-Rehabilitation Greenpath Health Group, LLC Zion, IL Dec 01, 2010 $67,746
Advance Practice Nurse Db Healthcare, Inc. MA Aug 31, 2011 $62,756
Advance Practice Nurse Db Healthcare, Inc. Worcester, MA Oct 01, 2011 $62,756
Advance Practice Nurse Db Healthcare, Inc. Boston, MA Dec 01, 2011 $62,756
Advance Practice Nurse Db Healthcare, Inc. Burlington, MA Sep 15, 2011 $61,420

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Top Skills for A Practical Nurse

  1. Vital Signs
  2. Patient Care
  3. Treatment Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted personnel by obtaining patient vital signs
  • Assist with supervision of clinical staff designated to provide patient care/clinical care in an ambulatory setting.
  • Conducted comprehensive health assessments, identified normal and abnormal health characteristics, developed treatment plans and evaluated care outcomes.
  • Provided care to adult patients requiring evaluation prior to undergoing elective surgery.
  • Coordinated dental, psychiatric and all ancillary services collaborating with physicians and other health care providers when appropriate.

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Top 10 Best States for Practical Nurses

  1. Alaska
  2. Rhode Island
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Connecticut
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Nevada
  7. New Jersey
  8. Vermont
  9. Arizona
  10. Delaware
  • (446 jobs)
  • (649 jobs)
  • (1,799 jobs)
  • (2,515 jobs)
  • (5,023 jobs)
  • (1,135 jobs)
  • (5,585 jobs)
  • (1,018 jobs)
  • (3,193 jobs)
  • (601 jobs)

Top Practical Nurse Employers

Jobs From Top Practical Nurse Employers

Practical Nurse Videos

Nursing Profession : Licensed Practical Nurse Jobs

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Career Video from drkit.org

Role of Licensed Practical Nurses in Alberta, Canada

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