What is a Licensed Practical Nurse, and What Does an LPN Do?

What is an LPN and what do they do
Written by
Miranda Kay, RN
December 27, 2022

The world of healthcare has a wide variety of job opportunities to choose from, depending on what you are looking for. Becoming an LPN offers the chance to expand your education and obtain more prominent and better positions. If you're looking to get into nursing at an entry-level position, you'll want to be able to answer the questions, what is a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and what does an LPN do? Although considered entry-level by many, licensed practical nurses are incredibly critical to today's healthcare. An LPN is a medical professional with the qualification to perform numerous tasks crucial to proper and efficient patient care. Due to the level at which licensed practical nurses are, LPNs are most often seen working alongside registered nurses (RNs) or other medical professionals. Additionally, depending on your location, the title of licensed practical nurse can also be referred to as licensed vocational nurse (LVN).

As with the nature of various healthcare and nursing positions, the roles and responsibilities of an LPN are vast. Depending on where an LPN works, their responsibilities and duties may vary. However, all of the daily tasks that licensed practical nurses perform are equally as important as the others.

However, some of an LPNs duties include,

  • Monitoring patients
  • Ensuring patient comfortability
  • Performance of routine assessments
  • Changing bandages and wound dressings
  • Assisting patients with bathing, eating, and dressing

Sometimes the range of tasks an LPN can perform may vary from experience and location, such as some states not allowing LPNs to administer medications. Although duties vary, the overall goal of an LPN is to ensure patient care and support their peers.

According to the research done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, the average median pay for LPNs was around $48,070 per year, equaling $23.11 per hour. If you're concerned about whether or not this position is for you, becoming an LPN is an excellent option for many, especially with the expected growth in required LPNs that healthcare will need in the coming years. However, how well is the pay when being a licensed practical nurse, and is the job worth obtaining before moving on to better positions?

The locations where you will see these medical professionals working also vary, along with the varying roles and responsibilities licensed practical nurses have. LPNs can typically be seen working in,

  • Hospitals 
  • Clinics
  • Patients' Homes
  • Physicians' Offices

Including many more, such as even at home, with healthcare practices such as telehealth becoming more and more accessible and preferred by some.

How To Become an LPN

While considered entry-level, becoming a licensed practical nurse will still require your utmost attention and dedication, as with any healthcare position. However, the benefit of looking towards becoming an LPN is the short learning period, in which you can complete a licensed practical nurse course in as fast as a year. Although there will be a few requirements before you officially earn LPN status, including,

  • A high school Diploma or GED
  • Completing and obtaining certification from an accredited LPN program
  • Obtaining the Authorization to Test from your local board of nursing
  • Taking and passing the NCFLEX-PN exam

After achieving all of these things, you must wait for a response from your state's board of nursing which will include results and your licensure.

What to Expect When Becoming an LPN

Although the basic LPN job description tells you all you need to know about the job, it doesn't prepare you for the actual experiences of a healthcare worker and what you should expect when going into the field. When becoming a licensed practical nurse, remember that these types of careers are not for the faint of heart and require many social, mental, and physical skills. As an LPN, you will be on your feet, constantly moving around to assist in patient care. Thus, you should ensure that you have the proper skills to handle all the challenges that come to you when nursing regarding all three skill categories.

How to Find LPN Jobs Near Me?

Locating the right jobs for you can sometimes take a lot of work, especially when you need help figuring out where you should be looking. Luckily, new solutions are coming out every day that make the lives of healthcare workers and managers alike easier. Healthcare staffing apps are a fantastic solution to the problems that many workers and facilities encounter daily. Offered here at Nursa, we are home to a PRN on-demand healthcare staffing app that swiftly connects healthcare workers with needed facilities. You'll no longer have to worry about where to locate potential work locations with the countless LPN shifts that are posted right now. All you need to do to get started is to sign up for an account with us today. Free of subscription fees or contracts, you only have to use Nursa when you need us.

Miranda Kay, RN
Blog published on:
December 27, 2022

Miranda is a Registered Nurse, Medical Fact Checker, and Publishing Editor at Nursa. Her work has been featured in publications including the American Nurses Association (ANA), Healthcare IT Outcomes, International Living, and more.

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