Have you been considering the field of licensed practical nursing as a career choice that would be perfectly suited to what you want to spend the rest of your life doing? Qualified LPN's are one of the most in demand positions available today, and your job prospects as a certified LPN are generally excellent. Duties that an LPN performs are impressively varied, sometimes overlapping into other medically-oriented disciplines, depending on the skill and educational experience of the LPN. You will see licensed practical nurses (they can sometimes be referred to as vocational nurses, or LVN's) in just about every health-related environment, such as nursing homes, hospitals, clinics and physician offices. They are available to assess a patient's physical and mental conditions, report all significant health issues to the attending doctor or registered nurse; measure and administer medication; supervise nursing assistants, and perform rehabilitation procedures on patients needing such services. LPN's can also make home visits to check on patients who are recuperating at home instead of a long-term medical facility, and provide care for the incapacitated patient for as long as needed.
The only prerequisite necessary to enter an LPN nursing school is a high school diploma or GED certificate. Nearly all community colleges or vocational schools offer LPN nursing programs, which take about nine months to a year to complete. A combination of class work learning about topics as diverse as human physiology, performing emergency first aid, medical terminology, and pharmacology; and laboratory training makes up the bulk of your studies. You will also be expected to participate in an internship which will give you real world experience working as a licensed practical nurse. Also available is the potential for earning a two year associate's degree or a four year bachelor's degree as an LPN, which will allow you to work in more administrative positions after graduation.
Most lpn nursing schools are accredited, but it is wise to check on this before enrolling into a program, since this is necessary in order for you to take the NCLEX-PN national certification examination which entitles you to become licensed in the state you intend to work as an LPN. Programs that have been accredited by the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education are the programs which the U.S. Secretary of Education distinguishes as official accredited organizations for nursing programs.
Salaries for LPN's can vary from $22,000 to $35,000 a year, and relies on mediating factors like the area of the country and prior experience. Highly populated urban areas may pay more since they will more than likely need more nurses than other, less populated regions where the pay may be lower the demand is not as immediate.
Financial aid and scholarships from both state and federal level are available to those who qualify. In addition, students who pledge to work after graduation in a "medically underserved" area of the country may have access to more grants and scholarships in order to help fund their education.