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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Training: a Practical First Step

With the global nursing shortage showing no signs of ending and the U.S. Department of Labor predicting a need for 1.7 million more nurses by the year 2020, nursing remains one of the hottest career fields. Applications to nursing schools are rising, but as severe as the nursing shortage is, there's an even worse shortage of nurse educators, which means that well qualified applicants are being turned away by the thousands each year, and those who are accepted are generally placed on one to three year waiting lists before being able to start classes. So what's a person to do if they want to start a career in nursing but can't get into a registered nursing program for years to come, or if they can't afford to spend three to four years in college before being able to start earning a living?

Study to Become an LPN or LVN

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) as they are called in Texas, become eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam and become licensed to practice upon passing it after spending only 9 to 12 months in training at a community college or career school. If you want to start a career in nursing quickly then becoming an LPN might be the right way to get a start!

LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses as vital members of the nursing team. They perform basic bedside care, taking vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also prepare and give injections and enemas, monitor catheters, apply dressings, monitor their patients, and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments. They collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, feed patients, and record food and fluid intake and output. In States where the law allows, they may administer prescribed medicines or start intravenous fluids. Experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and aides.

Job Opportunities for LPNs

Thousands of job openings in hospitals, long term care facilities, physician's offices, home health agencies, and a variety of private businesses are available for LPNs.

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2012): $19.97 hourly, $41,540 annual
Employment (2010): 752,000 employees
Projected growth (2010-2020): Faster than average (20% to 28%)
Projected job openings (2010-2020): 369,200

Sources:
http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2061.00
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm

Find out more about LPN programs and careers:

Study to Become an LPN or LVN
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