Interested in becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN)? Becoming an LPN can be a rewarding career working alongside colleagues that care about their patients. The first step in becoming an LPN is taking the TEAS test to be eligible to take classes at a vocational school with a nursing certificate program. After completing a state-approved educational program in nursing, the student must pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Once they pass the NCLEX-PN exam they will become licensed in the state they received their certificate in.
To find out if becoming an LPN is right for you, start by learning about what an LPN does on a day-to-day basis. Gain knowledge of the skills that are needed to become successful as an LPN and the job outlook for the next decade from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nursing and healthcare are growing due to an aging population as there continues to be more births than deaths each year. The growing population means more need for healthcare workers and licensed practical nurses.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an LPN?
To get into nursing school, a student must pass The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS Test). After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective licensed practical nurses are required to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed.
What is the TEAS Test?
A basic aptitude test designed to identify students who would succeed in nursing school and have the ability to think as a nurse. The TEAS test is made up of material that a student would normally acquire from a secondary education. The topics tested by the TEAS test include knowledge of reading, mathematics, science, and English.
What is the NCLEX-PN Test?
A test that all nursing graduates must pass before becoming a licensed practical nurse. The NCLEX-PN test is broken up into four major Client Needs categories. They include safe and effective care environments, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity and physiological integrity.
What is the Major for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?
Becoming a licensed practical nurse requires completing an approved educational program. To become an LPN a student will attend a vocational school to be awarded a Practical Nursing Certificate. The nursing programs at a vocational school can take less than 1 year to complete, as a full-time student. Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, anatomy, biology, physiology, mathematics, medical terminology, and pharmacology. The majority of nursing programs include supervised clinical experience.
What Does a Licensed Practical Nurse Do?
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide basic medical care to patients in hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, urgent care and long-term care facilities. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Licensed practical nurses (LPN) typically do the following:
- Monitor patients’ health and check vitals
- Administer basic patient medical care
- Provide for the basic comfort of sick patients
- Discuss and educate patients and their families about the care they are providing
- Listen to patients’ concerns
- Report patients’ status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
- Keep records on patients’ health, procedures, treatment and vitals
What Skills does an LPN Need to be Successful?
While attending school and during supervised clinical experience, the LPN student will gain skills that will help them be successful. These skills include compassion, being detail oriented, interpersonal skills, patience, kindness, physical stamina, dexterity, good communication and confidence. An LPN will sharpen their skills on the job and through continued education and training.
Compassion - Licensed practical nurses must be empathetic and caring toward their patients. The licensed practical nurse will become an advocate for the patient by defending the rights of patients and helping the patient communicate their needs. The licensed practical nurse will treat the patient rather than the disease, and not see a situation as merely a medical scenario or routine procedure.
Detail Oriented - LPNs need to be responsible and detail oriented, because they must make sure that patients get the correct care at the right time. A detail oriented LPN can spot signs of deterioration in a patient before the patient verbalizes it.
Interpersonal Skills - Interacting with patients, colleagues and healthcare providers is a big part of an LPNs job. Many times, it is the LPN that a patient first encounters and the LPN must be prepared to deal with the stressful situation. Good interpersonal skills involve active listening so the LPN hears what the patient is telling them, even if the patient doesn’t know the proper medical terminology. With good listening skills, the LPN will pick up on what the patient is telling them, translate it into medical terminology for the physician and work together with the physician to determine an accurate diagnosis.
Patience - Dealing with sick and injured people may be stressful. LPNs should be patient, so they can talk with patients and family members that may be under stress. The LPN may have to deal with a family member that is demanding information, even if the information is not available at that time. The LPN must stay calm and not react negatively to the family member’s request.
Kindness – patients may react poorly during a crisis or unpleasant while sick. The LPN must treat all patients with kindness since all patients deserve compassionate care.
Physical Stamina & Dexterity - LPNs should be comfortable performing physical tasks and standing on their feet for long periods of time. The LPN will also manipulate small instruments and must have the dexterity to make precise movements associated with patient care and minor surgery.
Good Communication - It is important that LPNs communicate effectively as they are the liaison between the patient and doctor. Truly good communication is more than communicating a lot, rather it is about communicating the relevant information concisely and accurately.
Confidence – a licensed practical nurse must be confident that they have the skills and knowledge to provide their patients the best care possible. The LPN must not have self-doubt, especially during a critical situation.
What is the Job Outlook for LPNs?
Employment of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growing population, the increased lifespan of the population and advancements in medicine mean a growing need for healthcare professionals and licensed practical nurses.
Interested in learning more about how you can be a nurse in New York or Massachusetts? Ready to start a Practical Nursing (LPN) Program? The Practical Nursing Certificate program is a credit-bearing, college-level program that prepares its graduates for licensure as a practical nurse (LPN) in the State of New York or Massachusetts. Graduates of this Practical Nursing Certificate program will be well prepared for successful passing of the NCLEX-PN examination, licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse in New York State or Massachusetts, and subsequent employment in the field. The Practical Nursing Certificate program at Mildred Elley is comprehensive, designed to give you the clinical and lab skills necessary to become a successful Licensed Practical Nurse. Our school instructors come from a diverse background within the medical industry, helping to provide you with the tools necessary to fulfill your goal to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a licensed practical nurse.