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What is an LPN?


What is an LPN? An LPN is a licensed practical nurse who works under the supervision of doctors and/or registered nurses (RNs). Generally, an LPN will be responsible for maintaining patient records, measuring vital signs, administering and monitoring medication, assisting doctors and registered nurses with tests and procedures, helping patients eat, drink and bathe, and updating doctors and registered nurses on patient status. However, the duties can vary depending on where you work. 

An LPN carries out nursing tasks that are more complex than the tasks of a nursing aid, but less complex than the duties of a registered nurse. You can work in many different healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, mental health institutions, private homes, community health clinics, and public health departments. 

What is an LPN? A caretaker for the sick or injured in a healthcare facility. 


Education to Become an LPN

In order to become an LPN, you will need a high school diploma or general education development (GED) and you will need to graduate from an accredited LPN program. Standard required courses to take are biology, chemistry, anatomy, psychology, emergency medical technology, first aid, physical education, foods and nutrition, and child growth and development. 

After completing all the required courses and graduating from an accredited LPN program, in order to gain your license, you are required to earn your CPR certification and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. CPR certification can be obtained online or in person, whichever program works best for you. The NCLEX-PN exam is the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. 

The NCLEX-PN is also referred to as “boards.” This exam is a pass/fail exam. The exam is mainly multiple-choice and some alternate question types. These questions could be multiple-response, fill-in-the-blank, hot spots, chart/exhibit, and drag-and-drop. The reason it is required is to see if it is safe for you to start practicing as an entry-level licensed practical nurse. The framework of the NCLEX-PN is meeting the client’s needs. There are four main categories and focused concepts or two of the main categories. The four main client needs are a safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. The focused concepts for a safe and effective care environment are coordinated care and safety and infection control. The focused concepts for physiological integrity are basic care and comfort, pharmacological and parenteral therapies, reduction of risk potential, and physiological adaptation. 


LPN Salary 

Salary can vary depending on which state you work in. According to the Nurse Salary Guide, as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Kentucky on average your annual salary is $40,860 and the average wage is $19.64 per hour. However, salary can vary depending on whether you are located in a heavily populated area or a less populated area. Salary in Kentucky can vary from around $35,430 to $45,110. 



LPNs require both hard and soft skill sets. Hard skill sets are teachable abilities. An example of hard skills would be CPR certification or graduating from an accredited LPN program. Soft skill sets are also known as people skills. Soft skills could be communication, flexibility, teamwork, time management, and more. 

LPNs should be: 

  • Compassionate. Caring for patients who are sick or injured requires compassion. 
  • Patience. Caring for the sick or injured can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if the patient is dealing with pain or discomfort. The patient might not cooperate, which is where the patience of skill comes into play. 
  • Stamina. This job can be physically demanding, this can require stamina. 
  • Communication and being able to work in a group. Communication is key in a teamwork setting. 
  • Detail-oriented and time management skills. As a caregiver, you are in charge of multiple patients, vital signs, needs, medications, and so on. Being detail-oriented and time-oriented will help you stay on top of your work and provide the best care to your patients. 


MedQuest Practical Nursing

MedQuest College offers a 12-month diploma practical nursing program. MedQuest requires students to complete 588 hours of lecture, 192 hours in the lab, and 432 hours at an assigned clinical site. The objective of MedQuest College’s practical nursing program is to prepare students for successful careers as licensed practical nurses. During this program, students will learn skills to help them perform patient care as an entry-level nursing profession. 

Upon completion of MedQuest College’s practical nursing program, students will receive a practical nursing diploma. Then students will be able to submit their diploma and transcript to apply for the NCLEX-PN. After successfully passing the NCLEX-PN students will be able to apply for their practical nursing license in their state. 


Specialty Certification for LPNs

Does an LPN have specialties or certifications? The answer is yes! Earning an LPN certification in different fields and specialties will show you have expertise in certain areas. Earning certification is a great way to expand your skills and knowledge. The advantages of earning certification are increasing your salary, makes you more attractive to employers and allows you to find your niche in healthcare. Here are some examples of specialty certifications:

  • IV Therapy Certification: IV certification allows you to administer IV therapy.
  • Wound Care Certification: This certification allows you to clean and treat all wound types. This would be a good certification for hospitals or long-term care facilities. 
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support: This certification allows you to work in pediatric care. 
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support: This certification is focused on training for heart-related emergencies and cardiac arrest. 
  • Basic Life Support: If you are certified with this specialty, you are able to identify when there is a life-threatening situation and how to resuscitate and stabilize the patient.
  • Certified Hemodialysis Nurse: This certification specializes in kidney care.
  • Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse: This is another kidney care specialty, specifically in dialysis.
  • Pharmacology: This certification allows you to help with medication assessment and administration, drug classifications, and procedures for dosage and intravenous fluid.
  • Gerontology: This is a specialty focused on the elderly.
  • Developmental Disabilities: This specialty involves caring for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
  • Long-Term Care: This certification allows you to care for patients in their homes or health care facilities.
  • Urology: Being certified in urology gives you the certification to help diagnose and treat issues involving the urinary tract.
  • Transplant Coordinator: This specialty involves coordinating organ transplants between healthcare facilities and assisting patients recovering from transplant surgery.
  • Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist: This specialist works alongside cardiologists and cardiac surgeons.
  • Certified Clinical Research Associate: This specialty is focused on working in clinical research and theory.
  • Certified Correctional Health Professional: This certification would allow you to work in a correctional facility. It provides training for procedures and techniques used in a correctional facility.
  • Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse: This is the certification for end-of-life care.
  • Healthcare Quality: This certification shows that you can work in healthcare management.


Which LPN specialty would you take?