LPN: Licensed Practical Nurse
What Is An LPN?
If you have considered a career in nursing, then you are aware that there are different levels of licensing. The ‘basic’ nursing license is the Licensed Practical Nurse. This is the license that many certified nurse assistants will work towards in order to gain a higer level of pay and recognition in the workforce.
What Does An LPN Do?
A Licensed Practical Nurse (or in some states, Licensed Vocational Nurse-LVN) may check blood pressure, temperature, blood glucose levels, blood oxygen levels, and give injections. In nursing homes LPNs are responsible for passing medications and performing treatments of residents per floor or wing. They will also be the direct line above CNAs on their unit, CNAs report to the LPN, and the LPN reports to the RN on duty.
What Do I Need To Be An LPN?
To become an LPN you will need to find a school that offers licensed practical nursing training. These classes can be found in local community colleges for the most part. Specialized nursing schools related to hospitals can be found, especially in cities.
If you work as a CNA, check with your employer about nursing training loans or grants. Your employer may sponsor and pay for your training and license.
Training to be an LPN generally takes one year of courses. Many people work as CNAs while going to school for their LPN. This can help keep a steady income stream, but may also lengthen the time needed to train as it is very stressful to work and go to school full time.
Testing and Licensing
LPNs take the same test as RNs, the National Council Licensure Examination. Though the test questions are different, the way the test is administered is the same for all nurses. The NCLEX is computer based and adapts its questions based on the ability of the nursing student that is taking the exam. There are 75 to 265 questions that must be answered in about 6 hours.
A license can be issued right away if the student passes the NCLEX. It takes one to two days after a successful test completion for your name to be entered into your state’s licensed practical nursing registry. Once it is entered all potential employers can check the validity and status of your license.
LPNs must renew their license every two years in most states. Fees vary state to state.