How To Become A Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurses, also known as LPNs, are crucial members of every health care team, and some of their basic job duties and responsibilities include taking the blood pressure of patients, measuring their height, taking their rate of respiration, their pulse or their temperature and so forth. These professionals are authorized to perform considerably more nursing-related tasks than a regular nurse, although the exact duties can vary from one employer and state to another.
In some US states, licensed practical nurses are also referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses or LVNs, and in some states they are even allowed to operate advanced, state of the art technologies and to administer prescription medication. If you have decided to pursue a career as a licensed practical nurse in the health care environment, then you should know that you can easily earn your designation as a LPN within as little as 12 months, provided that you follow a clear and well-defined educational path. Here you will find out more on how to become a licensed practical nurse and what it takes to make the best of your career:
1. Skills Required For Becoming A Licensed Practical Nurse
If you have decided to become a LPN, then it is important to know that there are several innate skills every good LPN should have regardless of the clinical setting or state they choose to work in. Having said that, it is of utmost importance for every licensed practical nurse to be empathetic and to have patience with everybody, to have good communication skills, to have a genuine interest in caring for patients, as well as to have superior interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills and to be able to perform different tasks at a time.
2. Become Educated
One of the most important steps you need to take in order to become a LPN in the United States of America is to look for accredited licensed practical nurse training program with a high NCLEX-Practical Nurse examination passing rate. These training programs are offered by state hospitals, universities, technical schools as well as community colleges, and they usually take one year to complete – upon completion, you will be awarded a diploma. The LPN training program are basic programs that cover the most important areas in nursing, such as pharmacology, lie span health care, medical terminology, basic nursing principles as well as infection control.
The licensed practical nurse training program will benefit you on many different levels: not only will it help you enrich your nursing-related knowledge and improve your nursing skills, but it will also help you gain valuable insight into the nursing field, it will help you get practical, hands-on training and it will thoroughly prepare you for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, or the NCLEX-PN examination, which must be completed by all future LPNs. All the US states require practical nurses to receive their licensure from the state’s Board of Nursing in order to be able to work legally, and fortunately the accredited LPN training programs will give you all the tool you need to successfully pass the NCLEX-PN examination and gain your licensure.
Every accredited LPN training program will efficiently combine study and training, and the training will take place both in the classroom and in laboratories. As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to focus solely on licensed practical nurse training programs that are provided by fully accredited and reviewed institutions, as this is the only way to make sure that you truly get the best training possible. The NLNAC, or the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, is the institution responsible for reviewing and accrediting the LPN training institutions that meet all the educational requirements and that raise to the highest standards set in the education industry.
The eligibility requirements that all applicants must meet in order to be accepted into a licensed practical nurse training program may vary from state to state, but the basic enrollment requirements are as follow: all applicants must be at least 18 years of age, they must have a GED or a high school diploma, they must have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher and, in some cases (depending on the educational institution), applicants are also required to provide one or two letters of recommendation. After being accepted into the licensed practical nurse training program, students will receive a certificate or a diploma at the end of the training and they will be able to sit for the NCLEX-PN Exam.
3. Take The NCLEX-PN Examination And Pass It
The NCLEX-PN examination is administered in all the 50 states of the United States of America, and it is administered by the National Council of State Board of Nursing. In addition to the basic eligibility requirements, all future LPNs will have to pay an admission fee of $200, and they must provide proof of graduation from an accredited LPN training program. The NCLEX-Practical Nurse examination consists of written questions and practical tasks, and after passing it you can move on to applying for your state licensure and then practice as licensed practical nurses.
The license is provided by the local state Board of Nursing, and the licensed have a different expiration date depending on the state where the LPNs work. In some states, the licensure is set to expire on a certain date, while in others it expires on the birth month of the licensed practical nurse: at the same time, in some US states the license expires in even-numbered years, while in other states it is set to expire in odd-numbered years. The renewal requirements also vary greatly, as some licensed practical nurses can get their licensed renewed without having to take any continuing education courses (and they only have to complete an online application form and pay the renewal fee set by each state Board of Nursing), while in other states they have to complete a certain number of continuing education courses (usually 24 every two years).
In addition to this, states also require LPNs who apply for a licensure renewal to report all convictions for misdemeanor or felonies that might have occurred since the last renewal.