Staffing- Exploring a Career As A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Do you want a fun and rewarding career where you get to help people every single day with ongoing employment potential? If yes, then look no further. A career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) may be the one for you.
What does an LPN do?
Licensed practical nurses (LPN) work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors to provide basic medical care. Their typical duties include:
- Monitoring patients’ health (e.g., checking blood pressure)
- Administering basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
- Administering medicine under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor
- Helping patients to bathe, dress and maintain personal hygiene
- Discussing the care they are providing with patients and listening to their concerns
- Reporting each patient’s status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
- Maintaining records on each patient’s health
Depending on where they work, LPN’s might have different responsibilities that are included with their general duties.Here are a few examples:
LPN in a Care Facility for the Elderly
These LPN’s are usually employed by assisted living centers, private or public nursing homes, and retirement homes. Common duties may also include:
- Provide patients with companionship and friendship
- Assist with physical therapy routines
LPN in a Nursing Care Facility
The most common employers are residential treatment agencies such as group homes for terminally or mentally ill patients, rehabilitative or hospice services where most of the patients are elderly although some may be younger with disabilities or illnesses.
Common duties may also include:
- Health assessments to make treatment plans
- Supervising nursing aids
- Assist in maintaining clean rooms
LPN in a Hospital
Common employers are hospitals who need LPNs to work in a host of departments including maternity, surgical, and the ER. Common duties may also include:
- Supervising new nurse’s aides
- Assisting with advanced medical practices
Career Outlook and Pay
LPNs are always in demand! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, there are an average of 66,300 open positions annually nationwide. Demand varies by state based on a number of factors such as demographics, number of employers, etc.
It is important to note that the state of Georgia, where OPA Staffing is headquartered, is within the top 10 states. Below is a table that breaks down the average annual number of openings by state (and U.S. territory):
|Area||Average Annual Openings|
|District of Columbia||160|
Wages also vary greatly depending upon a number of regional factors and experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reports that the range can begin at $17.10 per hour. Below is a table that displays this distribution.
|Hourly Wage||$ 17.10||$ 20.22||$ 23.47||$ 27.82||$ 31.50|
|Annual Wage||$ 35,570||$ 42,060||$ 48,820||$ 57,860||$ 65,520|
Is Being an LPN Right for You?
Like any career, it is important to personally reflect on whether this is the right direction for you. There are many qualities that you will need to thrive as an LPN. These include:
- Finding great satisfaction in helping others
- Being a communicator
- Having the ability to make people feel at ease
- Being able to work as part of team
- Being a problem solver
Additional considerations for being successful:
- Physical Fitness is a key component. You may struggle to keep up with the demands of the job, which can involve lifting patients and/or standing up and kneeling down for periods of time.
- Strong Constitution – Depending upon your work environment, you may be exposed to injuries, incontinence, etc.
- Strong Introversion – Your days will be spent interacting with other people.
How To Become an LPN
First, you will need to complete an approved educational program, which includes classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology and pharmacology and supervised clinical experience. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete. They are commonly offered at technical schools and community colleges.
After completing a state-approved educational program, you 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. 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 may also choose to become certified through professional associations in areas such as gerontology and intravenous (IV) therapy. In addition, employers may prefer to hire candidates who are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Lisa Wilson is the Vice President of Systems for OPARASA and OPA Staffing. She is also the co-founder of OPARASA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.