Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Job Description

Licensed Practical Nurses fulfill a critical role in the health-care industry by providing basic nursing care in a variety of settings. Their typical tasks include taking patients’ vital signs, updating their health records, and helping them bathe and dress. Licensed Practical Nurses, commonly called LPNs, work under the direction of Registered Nurses and doctors.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Take patients’ vital signs and monitor their health
  • Provide basic care, such as changing bandages
  • Help patients bathe and get dressed
  • Discuss treatment with patients
  • Consult with doctors and other nurses
  • Update patients’ health records

Education and Background

Licensed Practical Nurses need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. They also must complete an approved educational program at a technical school or community college, which usually takes about a year. LPNs also need to pass an exam and be licensed.

Skills and Competencies

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, doctors and staff
  • Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize workload
  • Physical stamina and emotional stability
  • Compassion and a calm, caring demeanor
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Keen attention to detail

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse with

1 year of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $43,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $48,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $47,000
  • Miami, Florida: $50,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $47,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $53,000
  • Houston, Texas: $49,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $52,000
  • New York, New York: $54,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $60,000
  • Overall: $51,000

5 years of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $48,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $51,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $50,000
  • Miami, Florida: $60,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $54,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
  • Houston, Texas: $56,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $61,000
  • New York, New York: $60,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $64,000
  • Overall: $59,000

Similar Job Titles

Career Path

The first step to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students then need to complete an approved educational program at a technical school or community college. These programs include classes in topics such as biology and pharmacology, along with hands-on clinical experience. Graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination and get a license to work as an LPN.

Position Trends

Some Licensed Practical Nurses opt to become certified by professional associations in specific fields such as gerontology or IV therapy. Training in CPR and both basic and advanced life-support techniques also will enhance career opportunities.

Licensed Practical Nurses will be needed to help care for an aging population in the years to come. Nurses who are willing to travel and work in rural or other under-served areas will be in demand. LPNs with experience and training can advance to different health-care positions, such as Registered Nurse. 

The National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses produces a newsletter with industry news.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Licensed Practical Nurses is expected to grow by 11 percent over the next several years, which is much faster than average. The aging baby-boom population will increase demand for medical services, and LPNs will be key contributors.

Typical Hours

Licensed Practical Nurses work a variety of schedules because some health-care facilities are open early in the morning, late at night, or 24 hours a day. As a result, LPNs might work evenings, weekends or holidays. They frequently log more than 40 hours a week and often are on call, meaning they must be available to work on short notice.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • Zip Recruiter
  • Explore Health Careers

Are You Interested in Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse?

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