The Need for Licensed Practical Nurses


August 8th, 2008

As the healthcare field continues to grow and expand, many occupations are in high demand for well trained and skilled professionals.  Licensed practical nurses, also known as LPNs, care for people who are sick, injured, disabled or under the care of a doctor or physician.  Whether they work in home health, clinics, hospitals, or medical buildings, these types of nurses have a number of responsibilities and job duties LPNs must have a strong urge to care for and help people, be very patient, and be able to spend long hours on their feet.

LPNs care for patients in a number of different ways.  LPNs take patients vital signs and medical histories and record them in patient records.  LPNs prepare and administer injections and enemas, dress wounds, and monitor catheters.  They help keep patients comfortable, dress them, bathe them, feed them, and assist them with any other activities or hygiene they may need help with.   These types of nurses are also responsible for collecting necessary samples for testing, performing routine tests, and recording dosages of food, liquid, and medication intake.  LPNs also monitor reactions caused by treatments and medication and whether or not they are responding well.  LPNs can be responsible for other duties and responsibilities, as they may vary heavily by state.

LPNs must complete a state approved training program in order to be eligible to be licensed in the state they wish to practice in.  Many colleges and technical and vocational schools offer training programs to make students eligible to become LPNs.  Most LPN training programs consist of classroom study, which covers basic nursing concepts relating to patient care, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and basic aid, health, and wellness.  Clinical practice is also a part of most training programs, which entails patient care in a hospital or other medical setting.

LPN jobs are expected to grow much faster than average jobs, with the most substantial growth in nursing care facilities and home healthcare services.  Employment projections estimate that LPN jobs will grow by 21% by 2018, adding 156,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The  high demand for LPNs will most likely be attributed to the older population, who have increased needs for healthcare services.

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