WHAT IS PRACTICAL NURSING?
The 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook states that in 2008, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) held about 753,500 jobs. Twenty-five percent of the LPNs worked in hospitals, 28% worked in nursing homes, and 12% in doctors’ offices. Others worked for home health care services, residential care facilities, employment services, outpatient care services, and government agencies. Employment of LPNs is expected to grow by 21% between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations, in response to the long-term care needs of the elderly population and the general increase in demand for healthcare services.
Most practical nursing programs last about one year and are offered by vocational and technical schools or community colleges. The program consists of classroom theory in the biological and behavioral sciences and nursing, in addition to supervised clinical experience. Upon graduation, the practical nurse receives a diploma or certificate in nursing and may then be eligible to take the National Computerized Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Upon passing this national examination, one is then a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Practical Nurses must be aware of the contents of the nurse practice act of the state in which they are employed. Their role is found in this law and the law differs from state to state. The initials “LPN” are an abbreviation for Licensed Practice Nurse. The LPN functions under the direction of a person licensed in this state to prescribe medications and treatments or under the direction of a registered professional nurse.