When you have a good plan, it's almost impossible to fail. Driving directions to show you where to turn and which exit to take, to get to your destination. A folded map when you're traveling in a foreign city, to help you decode street names and not fall in canals. A printed poster at a trailhead for a hike, which you make sure to snap with your smartphone before heading up. While you can summit without a map, it's much easier and more fun to track your progress, keep up your pace, and note landmarks as you go.
Believe it or not, choosing a career path is very much the same. Selecting your area of interest is the first step. Then, cast your gaze towards the end, asking yourself: What kind of job do I want? Understanding what diploma or degree type you'll need to get there, is the following checkpoint. Then, you do your research. Read about the curriculum to make sure it still sounds exciting. Find out what the program will cost to ensure that you have (or can get through student loans or scholarships) the resources to make it there safely. You wouldn't head out on a hike without at least 32 ounces of water. You wouldn't decide to kick off a road trip without a full tank of gas. The thing is, once you get started on a journey you enjoy, you often don't want to stop! This is why so many LPNs decide to pursue specialties after graduation. Maybe you see yourself in one of the following LPN specializations, too.
1. Long-Term Care / Gerontology
Many of the exercises and studies that you'll practice in your LPN program already offer the basic skills needed to work in long-term care. However, there are clear benefits of a specialization in long-term care. You can position your skills above other LPNs, increase your earning potential, autonomy, and variety of responsibilities. Nurses who reach for this comprehensive certification learn skills beyond gerontology, or senior care. They also become qualified to provide home or rehab care for patients who are considered chronically ill, from birth through middle age and beyond. The National Health Council estimates that more than 40% of the total population in the United States suffers from a chronic disease. The impact of these individuals on the health care cost economy, is extreme. Out of all of America's health costs, 75% of them are due to chronic illness. So, it is no exaggeration to stress the job security that long-term healthcare workers achieve!
This LPN specialization goes hand-in-hand with the long-term care career path because medication and interventions are so often a part of the long-term care experience. You might want to consider becoming specialized in Pharmacology if you have a keen interest or talent for mathematics. You'll spend time learning about dosage calculations, drug classifications, and medication assessment and administration. Achieving this certification means that you'll be able to prove beyond-minimum knowledge of safe handling of medicines, which is very a valuable addition to your resume.
3. IV Therapy
An IV Therapy certification will dictate the setting in which you may apply an IV to a patient, and this varies state-by-state, so make sure to do your state-specific research if you are interested in this specialization. The most comprehensive allowances include application of IV therapy in hospital and in home care settings. In this LPN specialization course, you'll dive into blood, plasma, and fluid regulation studies, and learn about safe administration of the IV and infection control, as well as central line use. You'll also spend significant time learning about legal issues associated with IV application, including protection against malpractice and regulatory agency specifications.
4. Wound Care
Wound education is a sought-after skill especially in hospitals, so if you are an LPN who dreams about working in a busy emergency room setting, this would be a valuable specialization for you. In a Wound Care certification course, you'll learn how to dress, assess, and analyze the factors associated with healing a wound. Understand infection risks and a variety of ulcer types, and study up on burn healing. There are thousands of products associated with wound care in professional healthcare settings, and this course will help you recognize them, and know how to use them. You can really impress future employers by demonstrating valuable knowledge in the wound care area.
5. Transplant Coordinator
Imagine being responsible for the heart, kidney, or brain that will save someone's life. Literally! There is a team that ensures that organs are received and cared for with the utmost attention. In the Transplant Coordinator role, which is the certification we are discussing here, you'll handle clinical responsibilities, like donor identification and authorization, as well as organ recovery and post-donation follow-up. You will help to coordinate with other specialists, like the Transplant Preservationist, who packs/ships and revives the organ, and Clinical Transplant Nurses, who care for patients before and after a transplant. As you can see, LPNs with this specialization will work with a specialized task force and contribute life-saving skills to a hospital's transplant program. Visit the American Board for Transplant Certification for much more information on this LPN specialty.
As you can see, the 16 months that you might spend earning your LPN are really just the first couple of miles on your long career path. Stone Academy helps aspiring healthcare professionals get their foot in the door with the knowledge and confidence to pass their NCLEX-PN exam, and work as a Visiting Clinical Nurse, a Dialysis Nurse, as a Public School Nurse, an Emergency Room Technician, a Scheduling Supervisor, among many other Licensed Practical Nurse roles. However, continuing your education with a specialization might add interest for you, not to mention make you a more attractive hire. We've outlined just a few exciting LPN specialties here. When you pull out your map and try to decide where to go, consider these options, plus many more, on the horizon.
To learn more about becoming an LPN, do not hesitate to contact Stone Academy at 800-585-1315. You may also explore more about our LPN school online.