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Licensed Practice Nurse

There are many steps to properly caring for a patient and licensed practice nurses (LPNs) fulfill one of the most basic care steps. They provide the good bedside services that many people associate with nurses, such as speaking with patients about their symptoms and medical history, taking and recording vital signs such as weight and temperature, giving injections and dressing wounds. LPNs are responsible for monitoring the patient’s condition, ensuring that the patient is eating properly, reacting to treatment in a positive way, and feeling comfortable. Most LPNs work in a wide variety of health care settings under the guidance of physicians and registered nurses, dealing with numerous patients with different conditions and needs.

Aspiring LPNs must complete a practical nursing training program. To gain entry into these programs, many schools require that students have at least a high school diploma, though some programs will accept students who have completed a substantial amount of high school health-related classes. Nursing programs are available through most vocational and technical schools as well as community and junior colleges. These programs typically last about a year, during which time students take courses in first aid, pharmacology, medical terminology, anatomy and other classes related to providing patient care. After completing the nursing program’s required courses and outside clinical work, program graduates must successfully complete the NCLEX-PN to earn their LPN licensure.

Nursing is one of the fastest growing fields in the country today. LPNs will find largely positive prospects for employment, with the most prosperous opportunities in nursing care facilities and home health care services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With an increasing population and a large portion of residents reaching their elderly years, the chances of patients needing the supervision and aid of nurses will inevitably increase. LPNs will fill the role of caregivers to this influx of patients. The salaries of LPNs vary depending on employment setting, though the average salary of all employed LPNs was $39,030 in 2008, according to the Bureau.