Find LPN Programs, Learn About the Profession & More!

Thanks for visiting LPNProgramsFocus.com, one of the best resources on the internet for LPN information. You’ll find lots of great information on this site, including some details about where you might be able to find LPN programs (listed at the end of each state page), a salary page, a blog packed with great information, and much more! The goal of this site is this site is to provide quality information for people in all stages of interest in the field of practical nursing. With that said, keep reading to learn more about what an LPN is, what they do, and other information about the field.

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What Does LPN Stand For?

LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. LPNs are nurses who are licensed by the state they live in and they work with patients just like many other types of nurses. However, LPNs are different from RNs or Registered Nurses. They are licensed to work with patients, but don’t have the same depth of education that RNs have, so they usually don’t perform the same range of duties. LPNs also don’t work in all the places that RNs work, although there is some overlap between the two. LPNs often help patients with daily living tasks and provide supportive care under the supervision of an RN, doctor, or another member of the medical staff.

Where do LPNs Work?

LPNs often work in nursing homes, hospitals, private care facilities, in home care settings, and in residential care facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these settings make up about 80% of the settings where LPNs work. The other 20% could be a variety of things such as correctional facilities, treatment centers, and other places where people need medical care.

Registered Nurses may work in a variety of places where LPNs can’t work such as surgical rooms, and other places that require a higher level of education. This doesn’t mean that LPNs aren’t extremely valuable to a medical team, because they definitely are—it just means that among nurses, there are different levels of schooling and different specialties that people may choose to pursue based on their interests. Some people may be drawn more to one path in nursing, while others may prefer another path.

Common LPN Tasks

LPNs have a wide range of tasks that they perform from things that are more closely focused on patient care, to things that are more focused on administrative duties. Let’s look closer at some of the different things that LPNs do while working with patients, and also some of the administrative tasks that they may do.

LPNs may work with a variety of patients, and what they do in the setting where they work may depend heavily on the needs of their patients. Take for instance an LPN who works in a hospital; they may be doing a lot more tasks related to wound care because so many people are in the hospital because they need surgery or because they are injured. LPNs who work in a nursing home may do more tasks related to helping patients with daily living skills because many patients in a nursing home are there because they are unable to care for themselves, and not necessarily because they are injured, so the setting where an LPN works in important to consider when thinking about the tasks or job duties that they may have.

LPNs may commonly be found caring for wounds, helping patients who can’t move on their own get from one place to another, taking medical measurements and recording patient data (blood pressure, body temperature, etc.), and other supportive tasks such as changing bed sheets, helping dress patients, giving them medication (in some states), helping patients with meal preparation or eating, and guiding patients to treatment rooms. LPNs may also perform administrative tasks such as working with computers, ordering supplies, and working with other members of the medical staff to coordinate care.

How to Become an LPN

The answer to the question “How Do I Become an LPN?” depends upon a lot of different things, and most importantly, it depends upon where you live. Different states may have different requirements related to becoming an LPN, so it’s important to know what needs to be done where you live. We can look at some of the basic steps that may be common among different states.

To start, a person who wants to become an LPN needs to be at least 18 years old and they also need to have a high school diploma. If a person doesn’t have a high school diploma, a GED may also be acceptable. Having a clean criminal record is also important, but there are may be some situations when a person may be able to obtain a waiver for minor offenses. Prospective LPNs also typically need to submit to a background check to verify their criminal history and also provide proof that there are current on their immunizations.

After meeting various initial criteria, people generally need to select an LPN program that is approved by the state that they live in. Different states have different agencies that approve programs, but it’s often the Department of Health, the Board of Nursing, or something similar. In addition to that, a program should be accredited by a recognized accreditation organization. It’s very important to find a program that is recognized by the state that you live in as counting toward licensure because there may be programs that may not be recognized, so it’s a good idea to do your due diligence here so you don’t end up being in a program that doesn’t benefit you; no one wants to spend a long time in school and pay for that only to find out that it didn’t count, so be sure to do your research there.

Once a person finds a state-approved LPN school and completes the schooling (the length of programs may vary among states and also among schools), then they typically need to take the NCLEX nursing exam. Once a person has completed their education, clinicals, passed the NCLEX, and met any other state-specific requirements, they can typically apply to be listed in the Nursing Registry for the state and would be then granted LPN licensure. Again, this section is quite general in terms of information, and may not be completely accurate for state that you live in, so it’s important to check with the Board of Nursing in your state of whichever agency is responsible for nursing licensure to get accurate and current information.

LPN vs RN: What Makes Them Different?

Although this topic is covered on the LPN to RN page of this site, we’ll briefly touch on it here. LPNs and RNs are similar in that they are both nurses, however, there’s a big difference in their level of education and the different things that they are allowed to do.

An LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) typically undergoes a shorter length of education than a Registered Nurse (RN). Generally speaking, RNs need to attend at least two years of school (often times at a local community college) in order to take the NCLEX-RN exam, as well as satisfy a few other certification requirements with specifics depending upon the state where they live. LPNs have to do similar things, but generally speaking, the requirements are not a rigorous.

In terms of their job duties, LPNs are generally more limited in what they’re allowed to do where RNs are generally more able to do a variety of things. RNs are also able to specialize in certain fields such as cardiac nursing, geriatric nursing, etc., where LPNs are not usually able to specialize. For more information on moving from an LPN to RN, check out the LPN to RN page on this site for some information about the basic process of transitioning from LPN to RN.

Finding LPN Schools

There are a number of schools that offer LPN programs, and if you select your state from the map at the top of this page and then scroll down to the very bottom of that state page, you can see a list of schools in your state that may have LPN programs near you. The list at the bottom of these pages is just a starting point, and there’s no guarantee that any of these schools will have LPN programs, and if they do, that they will have programs that fit your needs. You can also search for programs using the sponsored widget that appears on various pages on the site, but understand that this widget is an advertisement and there is also no guarantee of finding a school that meets your needs there (see the advertising disclosure and privacy policy for more information about ads on this site).

You can also contact the Board of Nursing in your state (or whichever department is similar to the board of nursing as it may not have that exact name where you live) to get a list of approved LPN programs and then use that list reach out to schools for information so you can decide what’s best for you.

Further Reading and Learning

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of Licensed Practical Nursing is expected to grow at a rate 25% from 2012 to 2022, which they rate as “much faster than average.” While this never guarantees any type of job or job placement, it does indicate that Licensed Practical Nursing is a growing field with good potential.

This site has a tremendous amount of great information from the state pages, to the salary page, to the blog, and more, so please feel free to look around and take in everything that has been authored here. Hopefully after spending some time on this site you’ll know more about the profession and various aspects of practical nursing. Thanks for visiting!