How to Become an LPN

The time to consider a career in health care is now. Opportunities for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are growing, and with the right training, qualified students can be employment-ready in as little as 11 months.

Becoming an LPN is a great way to fast-track a career in nursing, but health care is a challenging field, and it takes more than an interest in helping others to be successful. What steps should someone interested in becoming an LPN take? Here’s a closer look.

Consider the Sills Required to Be a Successful Nurse

An LPN is a professional caregiver who works under the supervision of a doctor or a registered nurse. LPNs are needed in a wide range of medical settings, from physicians’ offices and hospitals, to nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Responsibilities include both behind-the-scenes and hands-on patient care.

A license to practice as an LPN is a requirement in all 50 states, and jobs carry a high level of personal responsibility. Before embarking on a nursing career, it’s important for potential students to assess their skills and their motivation to work in health care.

To be comfortable caring for people at times when they are the most vulnerable, it helps to have certain personal qualities and the willingness to develop both technical and interpersonal skills. These are among the most valuable to have.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see things from someone else’s point of view. Health care is a very personal experience, and for nurses, the mission is always to deliver services in accordance with a patient’s unique values and beliefs.

An LPN works with clients from diverse backgrounds, and a keen awareness of how they may be feeling makes it easier to communicate with them and to provide patient focused care. For some people, empathy comes naturally, but for others, it’s a skill that can be learned through education and experience.

Compassion

Compassion is more than sympathy. It’s the drive to do something positive to alleviate the suffering of others.

Anyone with interest in the health care field likely has the desire to make a difference in people’s lives, but focusing on the needs of patients every day is emotionally challenging. A deeply rooted sense of compassion helps nurses stay motivated.

Communication Skills

A large part of a nurse’s job is to communicate with others, and while therapeutic communication techniques are taught in nursing school, it’s essential for an LPN to feel at ease interacting with both clients and colleagues.

From writing notes about a patient’s condition to educating clients and their family members about health topics, nurses depend on excellent verbal and written communication skills for success.

Attention to Detail

Mistakes in health care can have serious consequences. From documenting symptoms to transcribing a doctor’s orders, accuracy and attention to detail are essential. A busy health care environment makes it tough to do sometimes, but training and technology make it easier.

Time Management Skills

From administering medications to assisting patients with exercises, most tasks in health care are time sensitive. Busy days in a medical facility are demanding, but the ability to make the most of every moment prevents them from being overwhelming.

Flexibility

A career in health care is a commitment. Patients need around-the-clock care, and employers are looking for nurses who are willing to work when necessary, so having a flexible schedule is important.

One of the many benefits of a nursing career is that there is a choice of employment settings. For a nurse who wants excitement, a job in a busy hospital or nursing home might be a perfect fit, but the hours won’t always be regular. Nurses who need a more stable schedule can usually find it in a clinic or doctor’s office. The health care field has room for everyone.

Leadership Potential

While LPNs work under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse, they hold responsible positions that may require supervising paraprofessional staff like nursing assistants and dietary aides. Leadership ability allows nurses to guide clients and staff effectively, while encouraging teamwork and helping their organizations meet broader goals.

A Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Nurses graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, but health care is an ever changing field. Technology and priorities are constantly shifting, and maintaining relevant skills requires a commitment to staying on top of new developments.

Continuing education is required in most states for license renewal, and employers expect LPNs to grow professionally by taking advantage of learning opportunities.

Taking the NCLEX for Licensure

Graduating from an accredited, board approved nursing program is the first step to becoming an LPN. Next comes the NCLEX exam. Passing the NCLEX-PN, the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse, is a nurse’s gateway to a professional license. Its purpose is to determine if a graduate has the knowledge and skills necessary to practice safely as an LPN.

The exam is computerized and consists of mostly multiple choice questions. Five hours are allowed to complete the test, and there are no time limits on single questions. Scores are pass/fail, and results are available through the candidate’s state Board of Nursing within six weeks. Most students pass on the first try, but there are no maximum numbers of attempts—just a 45-day waiting period between each.

Get a Job

After successfully passing the NCLEX-PN, a year of hard work pays off. Nurses are in demand, and vocational schools have an excellent track record at helping graduates find positions that are a perfect match for their skills. By taking advantage of the connections made while training, a dream job could be right around the corner.

Nursing is a growing, dynamic field, and becoming an LPN is the perfect way to be a part of it. Take the first step today to be a day closer to a rewarding career in health care.

Does learning about how to become an LPN interest you? Ready for an exciting new career in the health care field?

The Practical Nursing certificate program provides the graduate with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to function as a licensed practical nurse, or LPN.

Part of the practical nursing training curriculum is devoted to theory and the rest to hands-on laboratory skills practice and off-site clinical externship rotations. These rotations include work at long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and childbearing and pediatric outpatient settings.

Upon successful completion of the NCLEX-PN, the National Council Licensure Examination, which is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States, the licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed physician in a variety of health care settings.

Contact us today to find out more about how to become an LPN on Long Island.

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