Becoming an LPN

Under the direction of a doctor or registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse provides various bedside medical care to patients. The duties an LPN may be assigned includes making a patient verbally aware of the care being provided, checking blood pressure, applying catheters, changing dressings of wounds, as well as performing other basic medical procedures within their license capacity. Because an LPN is under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse; he or she must report their activities to that MD or RN periodically. The location of where a licensed practical nurse is employed has an impact on the duties he or she is required to perform. Different states have different boundaries set on what an LPN can and cannot do in his or her job setting.

LPN Programs

In order to practice in this career field a license is required by each state. Potential candidates must sit for the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. However, one must first acquire the state approved education necessary to be considered a candidate that is able to sit for the license exam. LPN programs can be completed through traditional brick and mortar schools such as vocational schools or through the convenience of online learning. The educational LPN requirements to sit for an exam is to either obtain an associate degree, a diploma, or a certificate in License Practical Nursing. 

The difference between the two educational routes is the amount of time it takes to complete each as well as the education received. For example, obtaining an associate degree will take possibly up to 24 months but in the end will provide credits necessary to continue working towards a bachelor’s degree if desired. On the other hand, an LPN certificate can be achieved in half of the time it takes to obtain an associate degree. Many schools offer fast track programs for LPN. While the certification route does not provide credits that can be used towards the obtainment of a bachelor’s degree, it does provide courses focused strictly on the program as well as preparation to sit for the license practical nurse exam. If the educational course of action taken is state approved, then candidacy for the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses can be achieved no matter which LPN training is completed. 

There are some additional requirements to keep in mind that must be met prior to applying for education in the field of License Practical Nursing. A high school diploma is necessary to begin taking the steps in this career direction. Before the completion of the LPN program, clinical practice is required. Clinical practice provides a License Practical Nurse student hands on training in a medical environment prior to program completion. The student is supervised closely during the training by a registered nurse or a medical doctor. Upon completion of any of the state approved LPN programs mentioned, a student will overall be ready to take the license exam to become a licensed practical nurse in his or her state.