Practical Nursing 101: What is an LPN?

So you want to become a nurse?  Launching a nursing career as an LPN is a great first step towards your goals. LPNs are fundamental to the nursing field, helping provide basic patient care for those in need. Beyond that, what is an LPN, exactly, and what does it mean to be a “LPN” today? Let’s get you on the road to answers, with this practical guide to a new nursing career path.

What do LPNs do?

First of all, “LPN” stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. It makes sense then, that LPNs provide basic, routine care to patients in coordination with their healthcare team. On the day-to-day, LPNs assist Registered Nurses (RNs) with the following job duties:

  • Monitoring patient health and delivering care, such as administering medications, taking patient vital signs, and changing bandages
  • Observing patient conditions, listening to patient concerns, and reporting their status, symptoms, and needs to the managing RNs and Doctors
  • Collecting patient data and keeping records on patient health
  • Helping patients fulfill basic needs, such as bathing, dressing, and eating

Additional responsibilities vary by state, but some LPNs may provide education to patients and their families, reinforcing RN suggestions, or they may collect lab specimens, conduct laboratory testing, and administer medication, catheters, or IV drips. Some LPNs in the maternal ward may even get to help with infant delivery and care. You can read more about the LPN job description here!

LPNs provide vital support, in that they often spend more time with patients than RNs or Doctors. This hands-on care is so important and has a deep impact on the quality of patient care in the facility in which they work. This is one reason why many individuals desire to become an LPN – they are closely working with patients to ensure they are comfortable and tended to throughout their entire stay.

How do I become an LPN?

Aspiring LPNs need to attend an accredited program, such as Stone Academy’s LPN school. LPN classes cover the fundamental nursing skills, as well as biology, pharmacology, and other core sciences. Upon completion of the LPN program, students are awarded a Diploma and leave ready to take the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nursing (NCLEX-PN). Upon passing this exam, graduates can begin their career as a Licensed Practicing Nurse!

Will I spend years in nursing school?

Not at all! Most LPN programs require about a year’s worth of classes, though some schools may require less. There are no waiting lists to sign up for Stone Academy’s program, and with flexible schedule offerings, you can earn your diploma in just a matter of months.

What are some of the qualities I may want to have as an LPN?

The number one most important quality to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is compassion. Nursing is otherwise known as a “caring profession,” so it follows suit that healthcare professionals should be sensitive and understanding. Patience goes hand-in-hand with caring, as do communication skills. As an LPN, you’ll spend a lot of your time with patients and their families in potentially stressful or emotional situations. That is why to be an excellent LPN, you should be comfortable with expressing empathy.

Additionally, as an LPN, you may be on your feet for much of the day, bending over patients, reaching for medications, and manipulating equipment. Being physically capable is a large part of the job. Lastly, being detail-oriented and aware will allow you to be the best nurse that you can be. Quality patient care requires that individuals’ records are copied correctly and that their medications are administered on-time.

What is the LPN earning potential?

In Connecticut, the annual earning potential is, on average, $56,436. In fact, out of all 50 states, the state of CT ranks third in highest salaries for LPNS, just under Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. This makes Connecticut a great place to start your practical nursing career.

Will I qualify to work in a variety of settings? What is the job outlook?

LPNs can certainly be found working in various work environments. The majority of LPNs will work in residential healthcare facilities, while some LPNs will work in hospitals, physician’s offices, or home health care. With a job outlook of 327 annual openings for LPN positions in Connecticut, the LPN job forecast is great for aspiring nurse professionals.

As we now know, LPNs are incredibly important to the healthcare ecosystem. They are trusted by nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff to accurately report essential patient information. LPNs are leaned on by patients and their loved ones to deliver support and comfort. They take on a variety of responsibilities and exercise significant skillsets. Earning your LPN diploma is a great way to kick-start your career in healthcare. And you can begin right here, at Stone Academy. Call us today at: 800-585-1315 for more information or to get started on your registration!