Licensed Practical Nurse Job Info

If you become a licensed practical nurse, your main responsibility would be to help registered nurses or physicians in providing health care to patients. You have to acquire technical knowledge to do routine nursing tasks and also maintain patient records and perform other related administrative tasks. You primarily will be working for hospitals, health care institutions, sanatoriums, private homes and doctor's clinics. Licensed practical nurses are also referred to as licensed vocational nurses.

Requirements

You must complete a licensed practical nurse training course after your high school graduation. Then, obtain a license to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse. To acquire the license, you have to complete this course and clear the written examination.

Basic Responsibilities

  • Record vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate) of the patient on chart.
  • Monitor the drips (intravenous), catheter, and suture or dress wounds.
  • Administer prescribed drugs or intramuscular injections (subject to state regulations) to the patient.
  • Collect samples of blood, sputum or urine for pathology testing.
  • Assemble the setups like oxygen suppliers, nebulizers, and catheters.
  • Sterilize the medical equipments using the autoclave or sterilizers.
  • Monitor the patients' health condition and inform the concerned physician in the case of emergency or deterioration of the patient's health.
  • Make the bedding for the patient and apply ice packs or hot water packs to ease their suffering.
  • Educate the patient and family members about the treatment and diet regulations.
  • Emotionally support and encourage the patient to recover from illness.
  • Manage the inventory of the medical supplies.
  • Occasionally feed and help needy patients.

Work Conditions and Schedule

A licensed practical nurse has to stand most of the time during work hours. You have to work under the supervision and directions of the doctors and other registered nurses. Regular working hours (40 hours a week) is the standard for such nurses; however, you may have to work in night shifts or weekends based on shift timings of the hospital/health care facility in which you are employed.

Salary

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of April 2010 the annual pay of licensed practical nurse is in the range of $31,952 to $44,993. Like other jobs, the salary may vary with the experience, educational qualification and the employer.

Advancement Opportunities

Many of the licensed practical nurses undergo special training to work in special care wards. You can also complete additional training to become a registered nurse.

Job Types

Specially trained licensed practical nurses can be employed in the special care units like maternity wards or burn or cardiac units. You can also choose to work as a private nurse for people recovering from illness at their home.

Final Word

As per the projections of the US Bureau of labor Statistics (BLS), there is a steady growth in this profession until 2016. More jobs will be created for licensed practical nurses in rehabilitation centers and clinics. If you have the ability to work under supervision and patiently handle patients, then this might be a better career choice for you.