LPN jobs are on the increase, and you may not be surprised to hear that when it comes to the job market, this is one of the best industries to become involved in. There is a growing demand for LPNs and the skills that they possess, and this means guaranteed job security. An LPN basically assists RNs and doctors in the performance of their healthcare duties.
There are many advantages to becoming an LPN, and there is also a lot of room for growth once you have entered the nursing field in this way. To start off with you will have the opportunity to convert your LPN qualification to an RN qualification, meaning that LPN careers are more than just a job, but also a stepping stone to better and bigger things. There are also many different settings in which an LPN can work, and this gives you even more flexibility when deciding where you want to go with your LPN qualification.
If you are considering a career in nursing, then the best place for you to start would be as an LPN. There are many LPN jobs available, and the demand for LPNs is constantly growing. If you have what it takes to be an LPN, then this is the perfect way for you to kick start your career on the nursing field. The employment figures are good, and the LPN field is one of the fastest growing job fields in the US at the moment. This means that you can be guaranteed of having job security should you get a job in this area.
The Different LPN Jobs
There are several basic things that you will be required to do as an LPN, which is easy to see when you take a look at any LPN job specification. Regardless of where you find your LPN job and what type of institution or employer you work for, you will almost definitely have to be prepared to do the following:
- Basic management: There are often situations where LPNs are required to engage in basic management tasks, so you will need to either have management skills before you begin training for this qualification, or you must be fairly certain that this is something that you will be able to learn and be good at. The reason why you may need these skills is that it is one of the LPN jobs that you oversee the activities of orderlies and nursing aides. You will need to be able to manage people in order to do this effectively.
- Administration of medication. This is one of the main functions of an LPN. Patients under your care will most likely be required to take a medicine of varying kinds, and in LPN jobs it is important that you have the skills needed to do this. This obviously means that you will have to have basic knowledge about medication, but, more importantly, you will have to be able to administer the medication appropriately and meticulously. Forgetting to give a patient their pills will not be an acceptable excuse should something go wrong. Another aspect of medication administration is keeping an eye on how the patient responds to that medication. They may respond as expected, or not at all, or they may have an adverse reaction. In the latter two cases it should be obvious to you as an LPN that this medication is not suitable for the patient in some way and you should endeavor to bring this to the attention of the relevant doctor as soon as you are able.
- Sample collection. Although LPNs do not do much in the way of technical work in their LPN jobs, they will be required to collect samples of various kinds from patients. This is one of the basic functions of an LPN and it is not always a pleasant task. If you are someone who may be uncomfortable collecting, for example, a urine sample, then you need to carefully consider whether or not a job as an LPN is the career for you. However, you may be more interested in the fact that you will be allowed to do basic lab work such as urine analysis if you are an LPN. This may appeal to you a little bit more as it is a LPN job that requires more care and responsibility.
- First aid. This may seem like another obvious LPN job, and if you don’t have any first aid experience, don’t worry because you will of course be given full training during your LPN qualification course. Basically it will be your duty to deal with all simple health issues in order to free up doctors and other more advanced health professionals to deal with serious cases.
- Patient hygiene. Sick patients cannot look after themselves very well, and this includes the area of cleanliness. As an LPN your job will be to keep your patients as clean as necessary. This means moving them, bathing them (if they are able to), or washing them in bed. This is an unavoidable part of the LPN job, so you need to be completely sure that you are comfortable with this type of work. There are many patients who are in fact permanently bed-ridden and this means that they are in danger of developing bedsores should they spend too much time in one position. As an LPN your job will partly involve providing these patients with massages in order to keep the blood circulating appropriately and to prevent the onset of bedsores.
- Emotional support. Apart from actually assisting patients with their physical needs, you will also be required to provide emotional support to both them and their families. Going through an illness can be a very traumatic experience for many people, and you mustn’t forget that the patient’s family is also suffering. It is your job to be there emotionally as well as physically.
- Working with the family. Apart from providing emotional support for the family of the patient, you may also be required to work with them in other ways. For example, if your patient is being sent home, but still needs care and attention, it will be your responsibility to explain your patient’s needs to those who will be taking care of him or her once they have left the hospital setting.
- Following orders. It is very important that as an LPN you pay careful attention to the instructions giving by the physician in charge of your patients. You should follow home during his rounds and take note of any specialized care requirements that he or she thinks a patient will need. The ability to follow orders is a very important part of being an LPN.
- One of the most basic duties of an LPN is to monitor and record the vital signs of patients . This should not come as a surprise to you. Your role as an LPN is to provide basic care to your patients and to assist them with health related issues. It therefore logically follows that you will be required to do things such as monitor blood pressure. You will also have to take note of this information for future reference and so that a pattern in the patient’s vital signs can be established. It doesn’t stop there, however, you will need to know what to do with the information that you observe. It is very important that you know what to do in a situation where a patient’s vital signs give a reading that indicates if something is wrong. This at times may require you to keep your head under pressure, a very important skill for anyone who is hoping to enter the nursing profession.
- The previous point is related to recording keeping, an essential aspect of an LPN’s duties. Not only will you have to take note of the vital signs of a patient, but you will also have to keep track of other things, such as the medication the patient is taking and when, how much food and drink they are getting in, and, in the case of practice work, you may be required to keep a record of the patient’s past and future appointments with the doctor for whom you work.
One of the most important things to consider when applying for LPN jobs is the salary. You may find it interesting to know what lists as the top places for an LPN to work.
- Connecticut $24.39
- Massachusetts $22.72
- New Jersey $22.50
- Maryland $21.89
- District of Columbia $21.85
- Rhode Island $21.82
- Delaware $21.20
- California $21.19
- Alaska $20.76
- Nevada $20.33
These are the states where you are likely to earn the best LPN salary. This is a very important thing to know when considering an LPN career, as no matter whom you are or what the job is that you dream to do, the basic salary of an LPN is still one of the most important considerations that you will have to make. The overall average is $34,000, and the salary range is $32,000 to $40,000.
Places Of Work
There are several different LPN careers for you to choose from, and all of them come with their pros and cons. It is important that you know all of your options before deciding on where to work once you are an LPN. The different settings in which you can work come with different responsibilities.
Most people with LPN careers work in hospitals. This is by the largest location for LPN nursing jobs. You may be assigned to a specific ward or department within the hospital structure, or you may be required to rotate between departments. There are several things that you will do if you get a job in this position:
- Provide basic nursing care to your patients
- Carry out the required medical regimes
- Supervise other nurses and nursing aides
It is possible that as an LPN you may have the opportunity to work in a patient’s home. LPN positions that are home based allow you to have more freedom as you will often perform the basic duties of an LPN (listed above) without supervision. There are a wide range of different reasons for why an individual or family requires and LPN to work in their home. You may work independently or supervise an aide. Your duties here may include:
- Assessing the patient’s home for suitability
- Instructing patients regarding their own healthcare
- Instructing the families of patients on how to care for the patient when necessary
As an LPN it is possible that you may work at the workplaces of others, especially relevant for high injury risk jobs. Your job will to be take care of any employees, visitors, or clients who are injured at the workplace where you are employed. You will:
- Provide emergency care
- Prepare any necessary accident reports
- Arrange for further care at a hospital or other institution if it becomes necessary
This is another common location to find LPNs. The patients under your care in a nursing home will suffer from a wide variety of conditions, and you will need to know how to deal with all of them. For nursing jobs in a nursing home you will have to be prepared to:
- Deal with the required administration tasks
- Supervise aides and assistants when necessary
- Develop treatment plans
- Assess the health status of your patients
- Perform basic invasive procedures
- Work in a specialized care unit
Many LPN jobs can be found in doctor’s offices. In this setting you will be dealing with outpatients and you may find that your tasks are slightly more administrative than medical. Under this category you may work at an emergency medical centre, a physician’s office, an ambulatory surgical center, or a clinic. Apart from the basic LPN duties found in all settings, your tasks may also include:
- Assistance with minor surgery
- Preparing patients for exams
- Assisting with exams
- Maintain records
- Perform basic lab work
- Handle basic admin tasks
- Administer injections
- Dress wounds
- Administer medications
LPN positions in the public health sector are governmental or private and involve working with entire communities. You could work in:
- Retirement communities
Other health care settings you could work with:
Personality Requirements For LPN Jobs
There are several personality requirements that you should probably meet if you are planning to become an LPN. If you answer negatively to any of the following questions then you may want to seriously reconsider your intentions to become an LPN:
- Do you mind having close physical contact with people?
- How do you feel about regularly having face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams?
- Do you prefer working on a team, working alone, or both?
- When you are expected to do something or be somewhere, can others count on you?
- Are you easily able to recognize when there is a problem?
- Are you always very accurate?
- How would you describe your ability to listen to others?
- Are you good at conveying information to others verbally?
- Are you good at making decisions on your own?
- Do you have a problem maintaining your composure in stressful situations?
- When faced with a problem, how do you solve it?
- Which statement best expresses your opinion about honesty? Honesty is always the best policy/If I do my job, why should it matter if I’m honest?
- Do you easily understand what others say?
- Do you like helping others?
- How much education are you willing to complete to become an LPN?
- Are you willing to take a written licensing exam?
There are, as you can gather from the above questions, certain personality traits that you will need to have if you want to be successful at applying for LPN jobs. In summary, these traits are:
- You will have to be detail-oriented if you want to make a successful LPN.
- You will have to be genuinely caring, and keep in mind that patient’s will be able to spot superficial behavior or caring behaviors that are mechanical rather than deeply meant.
- You will have to have the right personality for being a team player as working in a team is a very big and unavoidable part of being an LPN.
- You will need strong communication skills as accurate communication of ideas and problems is essential in a healthcare setting where the patient’s life may depend on the accurate conveyance of information.
- You will need to be able to think quickly as you may often come across situations where standard procedures will not be enough to care for your patient. You will need to make decision quickly and efficiently and you will need to make these decisions well.
Becoming And LPN
Before you can apply for any of the LPN jobs or LPN positions that are mentioned above you will need to of course first become and LPN. Getting the right qualifications is a requirement for any job or field. There are a few basic things you will have to do to become an LPN.
- Firstly you will need to ascertain whether you have what it takes to be an LPN. This is extremely important. There will be no exams to test the suitability of your personality, but it is very important that you have the right attitude in this regard and that your motives for becoming an LPN are in the right place. If you feel that you do not meet the above personality requirements, than you may want to reassess your intentions of becoming an LPN.
- If you are 100% sure that becoming an LPN is the path for you, your next step is to contact the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission in order to find an LPN program in your area. When doing this it is important to remember that different states have different requirements for LPNs so make sure that the program you enrol in will be accepted by eh state in which you then plan to work. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission has a website that should make finding the best program for you quite easy. It is important also that you find a program that is accredited otherwise you will be wasting your time with the program. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission is the best place to look for accredited programs.
- After you have created a list of the various schools in your area, or in the areas to which you are willing to travel to study, you will have to do a very careful comparison of these schools in order to find the best one for you. Make sure that you visit their websites, but don’t take everything you read there at face value. The school will obviously aim to promote itself on its own website, so it is important that you also check out other online information about the school. Reading about what past students feel about the school, and whether or not they have found success since studying there is a great way to assess the quality of the school. It is also very important that you take a tour of the premises or campus of the schools you are considering. When you do this you should get a gut feeling for whether or not it is a school that you think you will be able to study at, and you will be able to see if the facilities and equipment used by the school appears up to date or not. Talk to representatives from the various schools you are considering. Be sure to ask any and all questions that you have. The more information you have the easier it will be to make a decision about which school is indeed best for you. You will also have to make some practical considerations. For example, how much does each school cost? Remember that expensive doesn’t mean the best, but also remember that cheap doesn’t always mean good value for money. Consider this aspect carefully. Also consider things like curriculum and how far you will have to travel to attend the school. Remember that it is impossible to do an LPN qualification entirely online as here is a lot of practical work that you will have to complete. Treat any school that claims to offer complete online training with suspicion, and keep in mind that if you choose an online course you will eventually have to make a plan for the practical work.
- The next step is then to take all of the information you have gathered and use it to choose a school to attend. Once you have chosen the school you think is best, you will need to find out what sort of things are required for you to do before you can be admitted. This is probably something that you should include in your search for the best school. If there are admission requirements that are impossible for you to meet for some reason, then you will have to eliminate that school from your list. You will then of course be enrolled to complete the course work, which can take anything form a few months to two years to complete depending on the institution through which you decide to get your qualification.
- Once you have completed your LPN training at the school of your choice, you will then be required to take the NCLEX-PN examination. This examination is essential if you want to become an LPN and practice in the nursing field. If you are uncomfortable with tests or if you feel that there is no way that you will be successful in your test, then you may want to reconsider the career path that will lead you to LPN jobs. This exam is standard and required and if you do not pass it you will unfortunately be unable to work as an LPN.
There are many different permutations when it comes to LPN jobs, and if you are interested in helping others and having a career in the healthcare industry, then becoming an LPN may very well be the right thing for you. However, before applying for jobs make sure that you keep all of the above mentioned facts and figures in mind. Make sure that you have the relevant qualifications and that you are ready for the challenges and duties that you will have to face and perform in your role as an LPN. In the long run this is a very rewarding job to do. Your working environment will be comfortable and you will have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others. If you at any point feel uncertain about this line of work, then look for something else. If your heart is not in it then it is not fair on you or your patients, as you deserve a job to which you are suited and where you are happy, and your patients deserve care form a healthcare professional who loves what they do and who does their job wholeheartedly.