NURSE, PRACTICAL

Duties

Licensed practical nurses typically do the following:

  • Monitor patients’ health—for example, by checking their blood pressure
  • Administer basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
  • Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress
  • Discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns
  • Report patients’ status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
  • Keep records on patients’ health

Duties of LPNs vary, depending on their work setting and the state in which they work. For example, they may reinforce teaching done by registered nurses regarding how family members should care for a relative; help to deliver, care for, and feed infants; collect samples for testing and do routine laboratory tests; or feed patients who need help eating.

LPNs may be limited to doing certain tasks, depending on their state. For example, in some states, LPNs with proper training can give medication or start intravenous (IV) drips, while in other states LPNs cannot perform these tasks. State regulations also govern the extent to which LPNs must be directly supervised. For example, an LPN may provide certain forms of care only with instructions from a registered nurse.

In some states, experienced licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses oversee and direct other LPNs and unlicensed medical staff.


Education

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses must complete a state-approved educational program, which typically takes about 1 year to complete. They must also be licensed.


Curriculum Changes

One of HealthCARE Montana's main objectives is to evaluate, streamline and transform the nursing curricula at the statewide level to meet industry needs, such as workforce shortages.  To view the LPN curriculum changes, please click the button below:


Job Outlook

Employment of licensed practical nurses is projected to grow 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom population ages, the overall need for healthcare services is expected to increase. LPNs will be needed in residential care facilities and in home health environments to care for geriatric patients.

The national median hourly wage for LPNs is $ 18.53.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Licensed Practical Nurses

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