closeup of practical nurse scrubs

While a licensed practical nurse’s scope of responsibility isn’t as broad as that of a registered nurse (RN), both roles play a critical part in patient care and recovery.

Practical nurses are the backbone of a hospital’s ecosystem. They spend a significant amount of time with patients and are typically the first ones to notice any changes in a patient’s condition. Practical nurses are also dedicated patient advocates. Since they spend so much time with their patients, they can gain a unique perspective on each patient’s needs, habits and health conditions.

For instance, by talking to a patient or their family members, a nurse can discover unknown health details and communicate them to the medical team.

If you’re a dedicated and compassionate individual looking for a steady career in the healthcare field that doesn’t require long years of schooling, consider becoming a licensed practical nurse.

What Is a Licensed Practical Nurse?

Licensed practical nurses, sometimes referred to as licensed vocational nurses, are considered entry-level nurses. LPNs are responsible for providing basic care to their patients. Their daily duties typically include taking and charting vitals and helping patients get out of bed, reach the bathroom and get dressed. LPNs often assist registered nurses.

A typical day in a licensed practical nurse’s life may include performing the following duties:

  • Taking patients’ vitals
  • Updating patient charts
  • Helping patients with daily activities, like dressing, bathing, feeding or getting out of bed
  • Administering medications
  • Communicating patient concerns to RNs and doctors
  • Inserting catheters
  • Changing dressings
  • Administering injections

Your duties may vary significantly depending on where you work, but you can expect to spend your days on your feet providing hands-on care to patients.

Why You Should Consider Becoming an LPN

If you’re like many other nursing candidates, you may be debating which level of nursing is best for you. An LPN’s responsibilities are more limited than an RN, but they still fill a vital, foundational role in patient care by enabling other medical professionals to focus their efforts on their own specialized tasks.

You’re Not Sure if You want to Pursue Nursing as a Lifelong Career

If you’re interested in nursing but you’re not sure it’s your lifelong calling, becoming an LPN may be a great introduction to the occupation. Unlike registered nurses, LPNs don’t have to spend years in school before they can practice their profession. In fact, many LPN programs can be completed within a year, meaning you spend less time and money on your education than you would studying to become a registered nurse or an advanced practice nurse.

A Quick Way to Earn a Decent Income

If you’re fed up with working minimum wage jobs, becoming an LPN is a relatively quick way to increase your earnings. According to the U.S. Burau of Labor Statistics, LPNs bring home an average of $48,070 per year. In Missouri, LPNs earn on average $46,010 per year.

Once you complete your degree and become certified, getting an entry-level LPN position may be relatively easy compared to other occupations which often require a lot more schooling.

Job Security

There is a never-ending demand for nurses in the healthcare field. With more and more baby boomers retiring, this demand is expected to grow.

LPNs are needed in many healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, home care and doctor’s offices.

Short and Flexible Educational Path

Not everyone has the time and financial resources to spend four or more years in school. In fact, many individuals studying to become a nurse work full-time and have families to care for. Becoming an LPN is an excellent option for busy individuals. Many colleges and universities offer flexible LPN programs, which include evening and online classes to help you juggle school, work and other daily activities.

Earn Your LPN Diploma from St. Louis College of Health Careers in Missouri

Our four-semester long accredited Practical Nursing, Diploma program combines academically challenging coursework with hands-on practice. Are you ready to learn new skills and become a licensed practical nurse? Apply to our LPN program or explore other healthcare degrees by calling 866-529-2070.

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