National Council of State Boards of Nursing

Can You Take the Heat?

Ask any nurse who has been doing their job for any amount of time and they will tell you that it is not easy. There are so many tasks that get thrown at you on a daily basis that sometimes it can become overwhelming. But most of them tell other potential nurses that one of the best ways to get past this is to become aware of the issues before they arise. Prepare yourself for everything and you will not be surprised. If you want to become a licensed practical nurse, here is how you do it.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Aspiring LPNs need a high school diploma or GED to apply for an LPN educational training program, typically a 12-month program found in technical and vocational schools and community colleges. These programs award diplomas or certificates rather than degrees. The most reputable programs will be accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). This accreditation signifies that a program’s curriculum properly prepares students to be LPNs, its faculty members are well qualified to teach, and most students pass the subsequent NCLEX-PN licensing exam. Accreditation also means that credits are likely to transfer if students want to pursue another degree program such as an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

LPN programs are typically structured in a hybrid format with classes taught both online and in traditional classrooms. Clinical rotations in several nursing practice specialties are included along with courses such as biology, nursing theory and pharmacology.

Required Training

Much of an LPN’s hands-on training is carried out in his or her educational program’s clinical rotations. Because job duties and employer policies vary widely, most training is conducted at the workplace under the supervision of another LPN or RN. The training period usually lasts several weeks.

Some states may require background checks and proof of education. Every state administers the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-PN) exam, which candidates have to pass to obtain their license. Licenses must be renewed periodically and usually require written proof of active nursing practice.

LPNs have several specialty options available to them. Many LPNs pursue certification in intravenous therapy through the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses. NFLPN also offers certification in specialties such as gerontology and foot care. The National Association Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care offers a long-term care certification.

Regardless of the type of nurse you wish to become, it is going to be a long journey. Make sure you are prepared for every part of your education as well as your career experience. Everything you learn you will take with you on your long journey as a nurse.