Your Path to Becoming a Practical Nurse

Required Courses
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Medical Nursing
  • Pediatrics
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology

Licensed practical nurses (or LPN's) assist physicians and registered nurses day to day so that they can care for their patients in more specialized areas of medicine. They are responsible for booking appointments, keeping patient records, and performing clerical office duties. Practical nurses, like many health care workers, can work in facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes. They can also find positions in individualized care, providing assistance to individuals in their home or to employees for large companies.

Step 1 Education

Those with high school diplomas or equivalents can go on to complete their training in vocational or technical schools to become a licensed practical nurse in about 1 year. Some students choose to enroll in state-approved programs while in high-school in order to begin their career upon graduation. Licensure requires a combination of in-class coursework and hands-on supervised patient care. During your studies you can expect to study subjects such as:

Students must pass The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to complete their licensure as well. The exam varies by state and is computer based, separated into four parts: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity.

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Step 2 Job Search

Openings in the nursing field are extremely wide as many hospitals are too understaffed to cover their constantly growing facilities. Job growth is expected to increase by 21% in the next 8 years which is much faster than average for US occupations. Due to shortage of LPN's in rural areas those who are willing to relocate can expect better prospects and possibly better pay.

Step 3 Career

Licensed practical nurses can begin their career from high school or later through integrated course studies and internships. Those who possess a natural ability to be caring and sympathetic to patients with disabilities can expect to fare much better than those who don't. They must be able to follow specific instructions as well as be self sufficient in their work. Many LPN's can go on to advance as charge nurses who supervise other practical nurses or even full registered nurses. Those who take continuing education courses to become specialized in a specific field of medicine can expect to earn much higher pay because of their specialty.