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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

  • $40,240

    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
Nursing Director Clinical Coordinator Nurse Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Nursing Director Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor Clinical Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Nursing Director
Director Of Clinical Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Assistant Director Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
PRN Registered Nurse Case Manager Career Manager
Managed Care Director
8 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Nurse Case Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Nurse School Nurse Staff Nurse
Patient Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Clinical Manager Practice Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Supervisor Clinical Instructor Physical Therapist
Rehab Director
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Supervisor Senior Technician Specialist Licensed Practical Nurse
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Home Health Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Program Director Personal Trainer
Wellness Director
7 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 5.9 years
Registered Nurse 5.2 years
Head Nurse 4.2 years
Nurse 3.1 years
Field Nurse 3.1 years
Practical Nurse 3.0 years
Home Health Nurse 2.7 years
Nephrology Nurse 2.7 years
Student Nurse 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Staff Nurse 20.2%
Nurse 5.9%
Instructor 1.9%
Cashier 1.9%
Head Nurse 1.5%
Top Employers After
Nurse 6.2%
Cashier 1.4%

Do you work as a Practical Nurse?

Practical Nurse Demographics

Gender

Female

83.6%

Male

14.1%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

63.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.9%

French

7.3%

Vietnamese

3.7%

Arabic

3.7%

Portuguese

2.4%

Bambara

2.4%

Tagalog

2.4%

Nepali

1.2%

Finnish

1.2%

German

1.2%

Filipino

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Persian

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Maltese

1.2%

Thai

1.2%

Croatian

1.2%
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Practical Nurse Education

Schools

Vanderbilt University

9.8%

University of Phoenix

9.2%

University of Illinois at Chicago

8.7%

University of Pennsylvania

6.9%

University of Cincinnati

6.4%

Walden University

5.2%

University of Central Arkansas

4.6%

Excelsior College

4.6%

Grand Canyon University

4.6%

New York University

4.0%

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

4.0%

Rutgers University-Newark

4.0%

Chamberlain College of Nursing

4.0%

Capella University

3.5%

University of Texas at Austin

3.5%

Maryville University of Saint Louis

3.5%

University of South Alabama

3.5%

Liberty University

3.5%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.5%

Arkansas State University

2.9%
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Majors

Nursing

73.9%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

3.0%

Business

2.6%

Nursing Assistants

2.6%

Family Practice Nursing

2.6%

Nursing Science

2.4%

Education

2.3%

Health Care Administration

1.5%

Public Health

1.3%

Psychology

1.2%

Clinical Psychology

1.1%

Management

1.0%

General Studies

0.7%

Liberal Arts

0.7%

Medical Assisting Services

0.7%

Medicine

0.5%

Biology

0.5%

Educational Leadership

0.5%

Criminal Justice

0.4%

Health Sciences And Services

0.4%
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Degrees

Masters

30.0%

Other

21.1%

Bachelors

16.0%

Associate

9.9%

Diploma

8.3%

Certificate

6.4%

License

4.7%

Doctorate

3.6%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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. 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. MA Aug 31, 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

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  1. Vital Signs
  2. Clinical Hours
  3. Health Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitor vital signs, performed tube feeding/irrigation/wound care/trachea/vent/GT/Immunization/Immuno-Therapy.
  • Performed the didactic and clinical hours required.
  • Collaborated with Medical Directors and Board members regarding developing health care protocol and referral resources.
  • Provided comprehensive outpatient care to medical breast oncology patients in collaboration with an Attending Physician.
  • Supervised the work of subordinate health workers and participated in professional and administrative meetings

How Would You Rate Working As a Practical Nurse?

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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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