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Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work with patients at medical and health care facilities. They work as part of a health care team supervised by physicians and registered nurses providing care for patients undergoing medical procedures. They may also help supervise a nursing staff and give injections if the state they are licensed in permits it. Depending on the type of medical facility they are working in, they may help prepare patients for treatment, take vital signs, and attend to after treatment care.

A Career as a LPN

Many licensed practical nurses start out as nursing assistants and attend LPN nursing schools. A typical LPN nursing program can last about a year and results in a certificate or diploma. A licensed practical nurse is often considered a step in a nursing career where you can gain practical knowledge prior to attending school to become a registered nurse.

Education and Training Requirements for a LPN

After successfully completing an LPN nursing school program you must take a national exam prior to being able to work as a licensed practical nurse. The examination is the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), and your working experience as a nurse, and the training you receive at LPN nursing schools, should help you achieve a passing grade. As a certified LPN, you could also choose to enroll in an LPN to RN nursing school program, which trains you for the more advanced credential of registered nurse.

Projected Career Expansion and Salary for a LPN

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job outlook for the licensed practical nurse career field to expand by up to 21 percent through 2018. This above average growth is partially due to an aging population that is living longer due to advances in health care. Salary can vary depending on experience and location.


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