If you’re interested in becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), you’ve made a good choice. Becoming an LPN is a great way to start your medical career. Since LPN programs are shorter than RN programs, students have the ability to start working and earning a good salary in approximately 1 – 1 ½ years. After working for a while and gaining experience as an LPN, students can enroll in an LPN to RN online program, to become an RN.
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This way students can continue working while earning a degree. LPNs work in a variety of health care facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and for doctors’ private practices. LPNs work under supervision of a registered nurse or a doctor. They perform basic nursing duties such as:
· Patient assessments:
- Assessing patients mental status
- Listening to patients lung sounds
- Listening to bowel sounds
- Performing a skin assessment for rashes or wounds.
- Check peripheral pulses.
· Take and monitor vital signs:
- Blood pressure
- Oxygen saturation
· Administer medications:
- Oral Medications
- IV medications
- Topical Medications
· Update patient charts:
- Chart vital signs
- Chart patient care
· Intake and Output:
- Monitor how much a patient eats and drink
- Assist with feeding clients
- Monitor elimination patterns
- Monitor Gastrointestinal feeding
· Wound care:
- Clean and change surgical wounds
- Clean and care for wounds from burns or accidents
· Draw blood and perform other procedures:
- IV blood draws
- Foley catheterizations
· Assist registered nurses or doctors with certain procedures:
· Assist patients with bathing dressing and personal care:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median salary for an LPN is $41,580. Salaries are dependent upon geographical location. Some of the highest paid LPN jobs are in New York and the lowest in Alaska. The low range LPN salary is $31,000 and the high range goes up to $50,000 for an LPN.
The job outlook for LPNs is excellent. LPN jobs are predicted to rise by 25% until 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is one of the fastest growing jobs in the healthcare field. Since the American population is aging and living longer, more LPNs are needed to care for them in long-term care facilities.
LPN programs exist in high schools and in technical college. Students interested in becoming an LPN can also attend programs in state and private colleges. Some hospitals also provide LPN training. A typical LPN program length is 12 months long; some programs may be as long as 18 months. Educational Requirements for an LPN Program are:
· High School Diploma
· CNA Certification
· Minimum GPA 2.5
· Criminal Background Check
· Entrance essay
· Proof of immunizations
· Admissions Placement test may be required
· Drug Screen
· Must be at least 18 years old
The LPN program is a competitive program, so it’s best for students to enroll as early as possible. Since there are limited amounts of seats in an LPN program, students are chosen on a point system, which is based on scores from the entrance requirements, placement tests and transcript history. Students who receive the highest points are chosen first. If a student’s scores aren’t high enough for the program, they can take remedial courses to bring their grades up.
Prerequisites are usually:
· Basic Englich
A basic LPN curriculum includes:
· Basic nursing fundamentals
· Human Anatomy and Physiology
· Human Growth and Development
· Normal growth and development
· Mental Health
· Introductory Pharmacology
· Basic Med/Surg Nursing
· Maternity and Child growth and development
· Vocational Practice and Health Issues
What is the difference between an RN and an LPN?
· An LPN receives a certificate or diploma after taking a 1 or 1 ½ year program.
· LPNs can start working quicker than an RN.
· LPNs mostly work in long-term care facilities.
· LPN perform basic nursing duties, they are not able to perform advanced nursing duties which an RN can perform.
· An LPN must always work under supervision of a registered nurse or doctor.
· LPNs must sit for the NCLEX-PN after graduation.
· LPNs can pursue post-licensure certifications in certain medical sub-fields through the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service.
· RNs must sit for the NCLEX-RN after graduation.
· An RN receives an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) after attending a 2-year program or a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) after attending a 4-year program.
· RNs make substantially more money than an LPN. LPNs median salary is $42,000 and an RN median salary is $65,000.
· RNs have more job opportunities than LPNs.
Is there a good online LPN program?
· There are programs that combine online learning with classroom learning. Although many of the classes are taught online, there are required times students will have to attend seminars on-campus and they’ll have to do clinical rotations in healthcare facilities.
· It’s preferable for LPNs to choose a traditional on-campus program since they need supervised clinical training.
What is the difference between online LPN programs vs traditional programs?
· A traditional LPN program is held on-campus in classrooms. Students learn through lectures and clinical practice in various healthcare setting.
· Online classes have all of the classes online but externships are done in various healthcare settings. Online classes are convenient because you can access them anywhere anytime, just make sure the online program you’re interested in has a strong externship program because that is where you will get the hands on experience you need. This is a crucial component to the LPN program.
What is the difference between LPN and an LVN?
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) are the same discipline. There are two states, California and Texas that use the term LVN and the rest of the states use the tern LPN. Students who graduate from an LPN and LVN program have to take the same licensing exam, which is the NCLEX-PN
Is the LPN program easy?
An LPN program is fast and challenging. Student must make a commitment to set a certain amount of time every day for studying and homework assignments. Students should also eat right and try to get sufficient rest since the program requires students to be physically and mentally fit.
Which is better an LPN or an ADN program?
LPNs and ADNs are in high demand. An LPN program is a great way to start your nursing career. The plus of an LPN program is that it is a short program and students can start working soon. An ADN program takes 2 – 3 years depending on the program and the amount of credits a student takes. An LPN program cost less than an ADN program. Both programs are valuable and train individuals to be excellent nurses. ADNs have more responsibility than an LPN but it doesn’t mean that a LPNs job is less valuable. LPNs make a valuable contribution to healthcare.
What is the cost of LPN programs?
· Average Tuition for a state college LPN program is approximately $9000.
· Average tuition for a private college LPN program is $29,000.
· Average tuition per credit hour for a state college is $130 per credit hour.
· Average tuition per credit hour for a private college is $530 per credit hour
· Tuition rates depend on students’ residency. Tuition is higher for non-resident students.
Government Grants and Scholarships are available to help with tuition cost Many schools have payment plan which can spread the tuition out over the course of the program after a down-payment is made.
Good LPN Schools:
Offers an LPN that prepares students to enter the healthcare field with confidence. Upon successful completion of the LPN program, students are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN
Their program entails:
· A strong foundation in classroom theory, labs and clinical rotation.
· They teach basic nursing skills.
· Students learn how to communicate with patients in a therapeutic manner.
· Lessons in specimen collection.
· Proper management of patients’ records.
· Patient confidentiality and ethics.
Berkley Community College:
Gateway Community College
Gateway Community College offers a Fast-Track LPN program that prepares students to take the NCLEX-PN in 11 months.
· This program teaches students how to collect data from patients to create a patient care plan.
· Students learn how to think critically and how to apply evidenced based practice skills for effective nursing care.
· Teaches basic nursing care skills.
· Students learn how to follow an established nursing care plan.
· Teaches students how to practice within ethical and legal standards.
· Students learn therapeutic communication skills.
· Students earn a certificate of completion at graduation.
Tuition: $81.00 per credit hour for residential student; $317 per credit hour for non-residential students.
Gateway Community College:
· Kaplan University offers an on-campus LPN program that prepares students for professionalism, effective communication skills and competent clinical skills.
· Students complete 84 credits
· Prerequisites are not required.
· Students learn through classroom lectures, group discussion, practice labs and clinical rotations under supervision of a registered nurse
Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm