Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) / Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Training


What is a Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)?


Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a vital part of the health care system and can handle the most simple and some complex medical procedures.

The titles Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) are two names for the same occupation.


Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in California and Texas and as registered practical nurses (RPNs) in Ontario, Canada. They are called enrolled nurses (ENs) in Australia and New Zealand and as state enrolled nurses (SENs) in the United Kingdom.

However, an LPN must work under supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or physician. LPNs can start IVs in some states, and administer some medications. They also perform duties that may include taking vital signs, giving injections, performing basic diagnostic test, dressing wounds, and observing patients.

LPNs also assist patients in daily living activates such as dressing, eating, bathing, and exercising.

They are able to perform vital sign measurements – such as blood pressure, heart rate, pain management, oxygen saturation, and temperature.

An LPN license only takes from 9 months to 3 years, based on the college, to obtain at most college programs. You will find LPNs at most doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals and home nursing situations.

Additional training is available to allow LPNs to care for patients in specialized areas such as obstetrics, psychiatry, pediatrics, or surgery/recovery.

Those interested in becoming an LPN should be tactful, intelligent, and caring. These skills, as well as good health and physical stamina are very important in this line of work. Those interested in becoming an LPN should also have an interest in people and be able to maintain good interpersonal relationships with them.

What are the educational requirements of a Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Most practical nursing training programs last about 1 year, and are offered by vocational, technical schools, community and junior colleges. Other programs are available through high schools, hospitals, and colleges and universities. LPNs must be licensed to practice.

Students entering a practical nursing program must have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Individuals interested in a career as a licensed practical nurse should take high school courses in algebra, anatomy, biology, chemistry, child growth and development, computer skills, emergency medical technology, English, first aid, foods and nutrition, geometry, health occupations/medical professions, history,  physical education, and psychology.

Depending on the school, tuition for licensed practical nursing degree programs start in the $2,000 range. Many schools offer financial aid, grants and other ways to help nursing students fund their education.

Most nursing programs include classroom study and supervised clinical practice (patient care). Classroom study covers basic nursing concepts and subjects related to patient care, including anatomy, physiology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics nursing, pharmacology, nutrition, and first aid.

Students should be aware that the program they choose must be approved by their state’s Board of Nursing to qualify for a nursing license.

After earning a nursing degree through a state-approved program, graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).

If, after becoming an LPN, you decide to become a registered nurse (RN) through an LPN-to-RN or LPN-to-BSN program, you can receive credit for the course work you completed during your licensed practical nurse training. Additionally, your experience as a nurse can help you test out of some classes, saving you time and money.

What is the work environment of a Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse?

The majority of LPNs work a 40 hour week. In some work settings where patients require around the clock care, LPNs could have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Approximately 18 percent of LPNs worked part-time in 2008.

They often stand for long period of times and help patients move. LPNs can face hazards from radiation, infectious diseases and caustic chemicals.

The patients they care for may be uncooperative, agitated, or confused.

They often deal with the stress of heavy workloads. However, the benefits of caring for patients and family can be rewarding.

What is the Salary of Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse?

The median annual earnings of LPNs were $33,970 in May 2004, according to the US Department of Labor. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,830 and $40,670. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $46,270.

Hourly Rate Report (United States)

Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse Jobs

Information about Licensed Practical Nurses

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