Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse
LPN stands for licensed practical nurse. They are also known as licensed vocational nurses in some states of the U.S. Each state has a separate code of conduct for the practical nurses, indicating their functionality and roles they are allowed to perform. Some of the duties that are common to all the LPNs are:
In some states, LPNs are allowed to:
These are the places where LPNs are employed most of the times.
Here, LPNs take care of the patients who are ill or have undergone major surgery. These professionals work under the supervision of an RN or a doctor. The work schedule depends on the hospital, but generally, they have 12-hour shifts with weekends off.
The patients who have undergone serious surgery are admitted into the rehabilitation centers so that they can recover quickly. At this time, their body is weak, and they are unable to perform the majority of tasks on their own. Licensed practical nurses help them with the daily activities.
• Nursing Home
The practical nurses may work as an in-charge of the patient care in this setting. The work schedule depends upon the facility, but usually, the shift is of 12 hours with the alternate weekend off and rotating shifts. Some long-term care facilities have 8 hours shift.
• Home Care
Some patients, who do not want to get admitted in the hospital, need a health care provider who can take care of and assist them at home. The type of work and timings would depend on the client. Some patients require around the clock care, whereas others may require the nurses to do a routine check up and make sure that the medical plan is continuing.
The students in the school often develop the minor illness like sore throats, vomiting, or lice. The schools appoint LPNs to take care of them, and most of them get a nursing room for that purpose.
• Medical Office or Urgent Care Clinic
These are the private clinics where the LPNs perform the task of measuring vital signs and weight and checking medication history. The working hours of an LPN depend on the office; they are employed at.
|State||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
Information Source: The Bureau of Labor Statictics (as of May 2015)
The analysis of the above table reveals that Connecticut, Rhode Island, Alaska, Massachusetts, and New Jersey were the top-paying states of the USA which paid $55,630, $55,230, $54,400, $54,160, and $53,300 per annum, respectively.
LPNs get opportunities to practice in several departments. The various LPN careers are as follows:
Every individual has an interest in a particular field. The nurses must figure out the department or the role they want to take up. Next, find out the hospitals or places where the specific unit is present. For example, if the nurse desires to work in a Burn Unit, s/he should search out all the hospitals in the nearby locality that have this unit. Burn units are mostly found in the hospitals having a designation of Level 3 Trauma Center. The candidates can get the required information through the official website of the facility.
The majority of the job applications are accepted online. But, still, there are some facilities that need the applicants to submit the application offline. Follow the below-given instructions while filling the application (offline or online):
While going for a LPN job interview, the candidate must know details of the organization- what does it basically do, the care they specialize in, how many patients get there in a year, etc. Do a good research work. You can go through the interview videos to get a better understanding. Dress formally and carry all the documents and a CV.
Once you clear the interview and agree upon the job norms and the salary offered, you are given a joining date. Before that, the hospital may take your drug screening test. The candidates must prepare for the first day at the workplace by purchasing the uniform (nurses generally wear scrubs) and the required instruments like a stethoscope. Once you join the job, you will be given a computer security username and password that will let you gain access to medical records, time-keeping, and registration system. The practical nurses are required to complete some educational requirements in the first few days.
The first month in the organization is referred as the orientation period. During this period, the organization evaluates whether you possess the required skills or not. The orientation period may extend up to weeks depending on the department and the role of the LPN. The practical nurses would have the assistance of a mentor and a preceptor, during this time. In the end, the performance is analyzed to give you valuable feedback.
In the majority of the U.S. states, the license expires after a duration of two years. The Board informs the candidates via mail 1-2 months prior the expiration date of the license. Practicing nursing with an expired license is against the law. Hence, the candidates must ensure that they get the license renewed on time by completing the renewal application and submitting the necessary documents.
Some states require you to have certain college credits to renew the license. Continuing education credits are accredited articles, lectures, or videos that provide education to the LPNs. Every state has a different requirement of continuing education that can be checked at the official site of the Board.