What You'll Learn from Practical Nursing Programs

What You’ll Learn from Practical Nursing Programs

Mar 23, 2015 | 12:00 pm

Many future nurses wonder what field of health care to specialize in and where to start. For those interested in the quickest route to becoming licensed to work as a nurse, practical nursing programs may prove worthwhile. With only slightly longer than a one-year time commitment to graduate, the goal of practical nursing programs is to provide students with the training and skills necessary to enter the healthcare field as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

Practical Nursing Education

Practical nursing programs can be found in vocational schools and community colleges mainly. A high school diploma or GED is required before applying to the program, and in some cases, and entrance exam.

Berkeley College notes that a licensed practical nurse should come out of training with a strong foundation in clinical nursing theory and techniques, fully prepared to take part in direct patient care. They also receive the experience and skills needed to perform evaluations in workplaces such as clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, physician’s offices, schools and more.

Students also train through supervised clinical experiences, a valuable aspect of a practical nursing program. Upon the completion of the program, grads can sit for the NCLEX-PN (The National Council of Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses), which is required to become an LPN.

Working as an LPN

According to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN,) the most common duties of LPNs include providing comfort and safety to their patients through observation of patient symptoms, administering medications and assisting with rehabilitation, as well as the following:

•Recording blood pressure and temperature
•Dressing wounds and administering medications
•Utilizing tools such as catheters and oxygen supplies
•Bathing, dressing and assisting patients
•Starting and checking IVs

And, while the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) gains popularity among new nursing students, LPNs remain in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment increases of up to 25 percent between 2012 and 2022, reporting a median annual wage of $41,540 (as of May 2012) for LPNs.

The BLS notes that with experience, LPNs can advance their careers in healthcare by training for supervisory positions or completing LPN to RN programs that promote them to registered nurse (RN) status. In terms of possibilities, nursing seems to have endless opportunities while offering a rewarding career—both personally and professionally.