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Licensed practical nurse

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A licensed practical nurse taking the blood pressure of a patient

Nursing, a job that varies in type based on level of education, requires consistent energy, acuteness, and emotional stability. One type of nursing that offers relatively quick training courses is a licensed practical nurse, abbreviated as LPN. LPN's work closely under registered nurses, and provide patients with more personal care. LPN's also perform the day-to-day practices, with duties that include taking blood pressure, checking a patient's vital signs, keeping record of a patient's medical history, and prescribing medications when needed. They find jobs in places such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and various private organizations. The average amount of education that LPN's need in order to become certified is two years after taking prerequisites, although this range of time can vary based on the degree of education desired. A LPNs standard salary, one of the major attractions of the job, is approximately $42,000 a year. However, this amount can vary depending on how much education and experience a nurse has and where they work. The demand for nurses is currently high, allowing for LPN's to have a greater selection of location for their employment and providing them with more flexible schedules than other fields of work.

Job Description

A LPN tending to a patient in the hospital

Licensed practical nurses (LPN) care for the basic needs of patients. They will most often carry out tasks such as tracking and watching a person's general health, maintaining an individual's records, aiding in operations, and administering private or special care. These roles of a LPN can vary, however, depending on the setting of work they are in. While it is possible for LPN's to work in hospitals, more commonly they will find employment in smaller facilities such as rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and clinics. They can also become travelling nurses, meaning they work for a temporary amount of time in a specific place and then move on to other locations in which they are needed. These types of LPN's can end up working in many different hospitals and facilities that range across the country. [1] In hospitals, LPN's work under and provide assistance to registered nurses in specific tasks such as prescribing medicines and deciding health care plans according to a patient's physical requirements. They can also carry out vaccinations and the injections of medicine. Communication and involvement with doctors is far less frequent with LPN's than it is with registered nurses. In smaller areas of employment, LPN's will often provide more personal care than those in a hospital, such as cleaning and bathing patients, creating nutrition plans, and constant availability in the case of emergencies or accidents. [2]

Aside from the practical duties that accompany the job, LPN's also must be prepared to deal with the emotional aspects of health for patients. This includes consoling the sick and injured, as well as their family members, and administering psychological support and advice. LPN's are also required to equip themselves with the ability to stay calm and collected in distressful situations. Because doctors and registered nurses are commonly preoccupied with the technological and physical prospects of health, LPN's experience a far greater amount of face-to-face communication with their patients.[3]


The Nippon Medical Nursing School, a vocational nursing school located in Inzai, Japan

The minimal education needed to enroll in any LPN programs is a high school diploma. For those who do not have their diploma, a test called the general education development (GED) is offered. This test calculates a person's skill levels in several different academic subjects in order to determine if they are eligible for the standard obligations of nursing courses. LPN programs most commonly take up to 18 months to become certified and up to two years to receive an Associate's degree. Those who complete the course with an Associate degree are usually offered better job opportunities, and are able to continue their education for another two years in order to become a registered nurse, the next highest ranking of nursing. [4]

LPN programs usually require prerequisite courses, such as math, English, and most commonly, biology. Once enrolled in a program, the studied courses often include anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, psychology, nutrition, and basic nursing. However, depending on the school, these courses may vary. Community colleges, universities, and hospitals are common places that provide programs for LPN certification. [5]

Salary and Benefits

A chart showing the monthly income of nurses versus physicians in the UK and Ghana

On average, LPN's make an estimated $42,000 yearly. This income can differ, however, based on location and degree of education. In the United States, the states that offer the highest salaries, around $52,000, for LPN's include Nevada, Connecticut, and Alaska. Recently, LPN's who work in more private facilities earn higher wages than those in general hospitals. For example, in hospitals LPNs usually earn an income of of $41,000 a year, while those employed in nursing homes or clinics earn annual wages around $44,000. Additionally, LPN's salaries are also affected by how much practice in the field they have. New nurses will often begin with an annual income no higher than $30,000. However, according to statistics, this number commonly rises four percent within the first ten years of employment.[6] Registered nurses enjoy higher wages around $70,000 in hospitals and $72,000 in private organizations. In addition to these registered nurses being in higher demand, the increased salary encourages many LPN's to continue their education for the more advanced license.[7]

Though they are in less of a demand than registered nurses, estimates predict that the need for LPN's will increase by twenty-two percent by the year of 2020. Aside from an assurance of employment after becoming certified, there are benefits that accompany the job. One of these includes the option to choose a less rigid work schedule. when working full-time, LPN's can decide between longer-hour shifts for fewer days a week, or shorter-hour shifts for more days a week. Alternatively, they also have the option of working night shifts, in order to have the days off.[8] Another benefit of working as an LPN is the availability of jobs for beginners. Because a number of the institutions seeking LPN's are plentiful and vary so greatly, individuals will often have little difficulty in acquiring work in that field.[9]


A video describing the regular duties of a LPN


  1. Heinrich, Anna. What Does an LPN Do? A Closer Look at These Versatile Caregivers Rasmussen College. Web. June 27, 2017.
  2. LPN Job Description Practical Web. Accessed May 6, 2018. Unknown Author.
  3. Tackett, Katherine. What does an LPN do? LPN Degree. Web. Published July 7, 2012.
  4. LPN Education Requirements] Top Nursing. Web. Accessed May 6,2018. Unknown Author.
  5. How to licensed Practical Nurse: LPN/LVN Programs and Careers] Learn How To Become. Web. Accessed May 6, 2018. Unknown Author.
  6. What Determines LPN Salary Practical Nursing Online. Web. Accessed May 19, 2018. Unknown author.
  7. Strauss, Eric. Nursing Salaries in Hospitals vs. in Clinics Houston Chronicle. Web. Accessed May 19, 2018.
  8. What Are the Benefits of an LPN Career? Practical Nursing Online. Web. Accessed May 19, 2018. Unknown author.
  9. Malvik, Callie. LPN or RN: The Advantages of Being an LPN Rasmussen. Web. Published August 30, 2016.