Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Duties

In an attempt to provide detailed information to those that are aspiring to be a licensed practical nurse, this article will try to outline some of the basic duties and job functions that one would expect to do as an LPN.
It should be noted that LPN duties may vary by job setting, weather a hospital, nursing home or even in-home facilities.
After approximately on year of study in post-secondary school or accredited online course, one can begin their duties as a Licensed Practical Nurse (sometimes referred to as a Licensed Vocational Nurse).
In a clinical setting, the LPN will work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or physician and will care for people who are sick or injured or recovering from surgery in all cases, an LPN's primary role is to provide bedside care and comfort to the patient.
Such comforting functions may include bathing the patient, helping to reposition them in bed. Often the LPN will help the patient to dress or eat, even helping the patient to stand or walk.
In more a more clinical capacity a Licensed Practical Nurse will have duties that include but are not limited to: taking vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature and pulse. They also will administer injections, as well as take blood for laboratory work as well as insert and change intravenous apparatus.
The LPN will often perform enemas and monitor any catheters that the patient may have required. A Licensed Practical Nurse may also help to dress wounds or even assist physicians and Registered Nurses during procedures. It is not uncommon to have an LPN assist in the delivery and care of infants.
The most important overall LPN duties are in the capacity to monitor the patient. The LPN will monitor vital signs before, after and even during a procedure. They will monitor the patient after initially arriving or immediately following a clinical procedure, especially looking for any adverse reactions to any medications that the patient may have received. This role is paramount to the success of the Registered Nurse and caring physician for the LPN is truly the "eye and ears" of other hospital staff and perform their functions with humanity and personal care that simply an in-room monitor cannot provide.
In this capacity, LPN duties are much more sensitive than any bedside monitor can be, they can detect the subtle nuances exhibited by a patient that a machine simply will not see and in many cases, this could determine the length of stay or even the overall outcome of the patients recovery.
While often regarded as one of the lower occupational positions to be had among nurses in a health care setting, the hospital's success in treating the sick is directly reliant upon these basic LPN duties and the caring people that perform them.

Basic Differences Between LPN and RN

Ok so you may need a brief discussion about the differences between LPNs and an RN. We suspect you already know but if you are contemplating a nursing profession and just starting out, you may be wondering about the basic differences between an RN and an LPN.

What is the distinction between the two, if any? Well both an RN and an LPN are actually bonafide nurses for starters so let's move on from that point.

Secondly, let's also clear this up for those that really need the basic definitions here. LPN represents Licensed Practical Nurse. There are a handful of U.S. states (like Texas) that use the phrase LVN, or Licensed Vocational Nurse which actually means the exact same thing.

RN represents Registered Nurse.

The greatest difference that many of us need to understand about an RN is that more often than not it takes a four year degree of study to get licensed as an RN. While an individual can become an LPN with around a year of study. So as it pertains to the LPN versus RN debate, when we compare getting started in the discipline, LPN is a much swifter path to a nursing career than a RN path.

What does the LPN to RN comparison look like when it comes to salaries? Well, an LPN can anticipate to make (in the U.S.) between $32,000 and $47,000 each year. An RN will earn considerably more, with the mean salary around $72,000 annually.

How are their occupational roles different? There is seemingly a great deal of confusion on this subject, but after you've read this short post you will hopefully begin to see the differences between an LPN and an RN, and you will have a better approximation which one is right for you to pursue.

Much of the RN's higher wage is a result of the occupational differences between them. An LPN does fairly rudimentary nursing functions, and they are always under the management of a doctor or an RN. An RN on the other hand, can work on their own, and also do some things that an LPN cannot like administrate an IV, or take care of patients that are in intensive care or in critical condition.

So in regards to LPN versus RN, in a very small nutshell, you will make more money each year as an RN, but it can take you four years to arrive to that degree. You will also have much greater occupational duties (ie: work harder). With an LPN licensure on the other hand, you will earn a competitive wage, and it will likewise only take you a year to enter the field, but you will always be answering to doctor or an RN. One vocation route that many choose to adopt is to obtain the LPN, then get a secure paying job, then endeavor toward your RN diploma or degree.

An excellent path to consider is an LPN to RN bridge or transition program. It is an accelerated path to becoming an RN that is designed with the working LPN in mind. If you play your cards right, you can choose an LPN to RN bridge program online and eliminate the commute, half the expenses (or so) and an even shorter time span to becoming an RN. Additionally, you can study for your higher degree around your busy clinical schedule, even adopting weekend or night work online.

So by far the best course of action is to get a year of schooling in and get your LPN degree, then get a job (they are sought after) and pursue an LPN to RN bridge program to get your RN degree and double your wages for what many LPNs regard as doing the same work as an RN anyway.

There you go, good luck!

Choosing an LPN to RN Bridge Program

LPN to RN bridge programs are now the most favored road to become a registered nurse (minus the bother of taking several years from your life and driving into a nursing school). Using an internet school provides the luxury of learning out of your home, and LPN to RN bridge programs allow students to use their original training as an LPN to help attain the Registered Nurse certificate. The procedure in earning an LPN to RN degree on the internet is relatively straightforward, and just calls for a little bit of research for your part as a student. Here are some points to consider:

  • Can you use your prior LPN work to help you.

    The aim of most LPN to RN bridge programs is to allow students the chance to use everything they have acquired during their career as an LPN, towards their RN courses. Therefore, rather than beginning with a clean slate in nursing like a lot of schools might call for, students of any level of nursing are able to start with a background in the medical profession and can knock off a year or so of their studies.

  • Choose the your school or online resource of study.

    Most online schools present you with a variety of courses of instruction, and since the nursing sector has inflated during the past years, many online schools are now offering a wide variety of nursing courses. Many of these are made up of programs that allow students to take fewer online classes as a result of their prior degree qualifications. As a result, there is certainly many choices for students to pick in securing an RN degree, and the decisions are therefore left to the student which college will work for them in developing their degree and allow them the greatest flexibility to learn and work.

  • Length of term to completion.

    The period of time it takes to complete an LPN to RN bridge program is another attractive element presented when choosing an online program. Each training course allows students the flexibility to pick out only a small number of classes each year and still earn the degree within two or three years. Traditional RN programs are rigidly structured to ensure that students must follow specific plans yearly, without consideration of their former employment experience. LPN to RN bridge programs instead look at the student's background of knowledge and affords them a shorter period of time during the course.

  • Exploring the final cost.

    Ultimately, LPN to RN bridge programs are in most cases, cheaper than traditional college LPN to RN bridge programs not simply because they are online, but also because of the shorter time period which can spare students thousands of dollars. Getting an RN degree has never been easier. Together with the added help of LPN to RN bridge programs and the choice of online instruction, online courses continue to draw in more students yearly.

  • Consider any clinical or lab requirements.

    Most RN programs call for students to invest several hours per week in a hospital or clinic position in their last year of study for them to gain a better view on what their occupation will entail. However, in LPN to RN bridge programs, students usually have years of prior experience actually working in a clinic setting, which means that these requirements are modified so that students can just have the degree minus the additional year of clinic work. This is one of the main advantages of LPN to RN bridge programs. While some courses may still call for a handful of hours of work a week in a clinic with a Registered Nurse, it's not going to be as extended as typical RN programs.

Once over, the benefit of choosing an online program comes in time saved (shortened lengths of terms and no commuting) and lower up front tuition costs. A summary of the things you should consider when choosing an online LPN to RN bridge program is:

  • Can you use your prior LPN work to help you.
  • Choose the your school or online resource of study.
  • Length of term to completion.
  • Exploring the final cost.
  • Consider any clinical or lab requirements.

We hope this helps you encapsulate the considerations to take when deciding on an LPN to RN bridge program.