What is Practical Nursing? | Stone Academy

If you’re considering a career in the healthcare field, there is no better time to begin. There is a nursing shortage in this country that is growing larger every year, which has a major impact on American lives. The supply of qualified nurses is falling far short of the demand for care. Besides an increasing emphasis on preventative medicine, as well as increasing rates of chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity, an aging baby boomer population is requiring more specialized assistance with their health.

A Call to Action: Answering the Nursing Shortage
Taking a moment to look at the numbers, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that by 2030, Americans over the age of 65 is projected make up almost one quarter of the total U.S. population. Who is going to care for those 82 million people in their elder years? It’s an enormous question to ask. Yet, prospective healthcare workers should feel a calling and see opportunity in these numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) is growing much faster than average for all occupations in the USA. In fact, 65,700 jobs are expected to become available between 2019 and 2029. Those that rise to the occasion will not only contribute to the well-being of others, but they will also discover what a rewarding career nursing can be. Much more information about the nursing shortage in this country has been collected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and we think you’ll see how the pile of research comes to a pointed conclusion. We need more nurses!

What Types of Nurses Are There?
Individuals who are new to nursing might be wondering where they should begin! There are so many avenues into nursing – RN (Registered Nurse), DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice, CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) are just some of the many options. There are also distinct advantages to each of these roles.

Naturally, level of education will translate to more advanced nursing roles. In order to become an RN, for example, you’ll need to attend between two and four years of school. CNA and LPN nurses, meanwhile, can begin practicing nursing after less than two years in school. CNA and LPN roles can also be launching pads for additional education, eventually. If time is of the essence now, you’ll want to consider the practical nursing route.

What is Practical Nursing?
Practical nurses, formally known as LPNs (or LVNs in certain states) provide basic patient care in clinical settings. They are a vital component to integrated healthcare teams, supporting RNs and Doctors. There are a variety of settings where practical nurses might work, including long-term care facilities, hospitals, physician’s offices, home healthcare, rehabilitation centers, public schools, and hospice. LPNs can get their foot in the door in as few as 16 months in a certification program!

Similar to LPNs, CNAs also offer basic care. However, they have a more limited range of autonomy than LPNs. In fact, CNAs may work underneath LPNs, on tasks such as serving meals to patients, transporting patients, dressing patients, and reporting any findings to other nursing staff. The CNA path may be a practical way for some to break into the field. If you are looking for more nursing responsibilities and a higher salary, however, you may consider the LPN path.

Some of the duties involved in the practical nursing or LPN job description include:

  • Promoting patient safety.
  • Assisting patients with personal hygiene, such as bathing and dressing.
  • Changing bandages, inserting catheters, and other basic care.
  • Conversing with patients about their care.
  • Collecting patient data such as physical assessment and vitals.
  • Reporting on patients’ statuses and any concerns to RNs and doctors.
  • Delegating therapeutic care measures to RNs and doctors.

Given these responsibilities, you can see easy it might be for patients to develop a relationship with their LPN. There is quite a bit of interface with patients in this role, and depending on the work environment you choose, you may have between a few days and a couple of months to get to know your patients. Many LPNs truly enjoy this part of their job.

Why Practical Nursing?
One of the most important things to note about becoming an LPN, and about practical nursing in general, is that these nurses are licensed by the state. They must obtain and retain their NCLEX-PN license in order to provide care. This is one reason why LPNs make, on average, $47,480 annually, whereas nursing assistants make, on average, $30,720 annually. Entering the nursing profession as an LPN opens room for growth and specialization based on your interests. Whether you enjoy working with the elderly or children, in a fast-paced hospital, or a more mellow rehabilitation center, these options are available to LPNs. Plus, practical nursing could be just the beginning of your healthcare career journey. Additional coursework can lead you to becoming a RN or even a doctor!

LPNs are making a positive impact on people’s lives. Whether it’s the fact that they’re contributing to something extremely important and in-demand, it’s the comfortable salary, or the thought of “this is just the beginning,” what many practical nurses feel at the end of the day is reward. Learn how you can become a LPN quickly and affordably at Stone Academy. Call 800-585-1315, or request more information online, today.

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