How to Become an LPN
A licensed practical nurse is responsible for most of the base level job duties in a health care institution. This is usually a position that people get into before becoming a registered nurse. If you plan to be an RN or you just want to work in a hospital setting, you should learn how to become an LPN. The process does not take long, and it could lead you to an exciting and rewarding career. Here is a brief guide outlining what it will take for you to become a licensed practical nurse in the future.
Step 0 – Determine If This Is the Right Career for You
Before you can learn how to become an LPN, you need to figure out if this is the right career for you. Qualities of a good LPN include:
- A positive attitude, even in the midst of extreme stress
- The ability to handle emergency situations in a calm manner
- A passion for helping other people
- The ability to communicate with patients effectively
- An overall knowledge of the medical field
As an LPN, you will be asked to take on new tasks with every patient that comes into a hospital. It is your job to ensure that patients experience the best level of care possible, which may involve getting involved in some less-than-pleasant situations. Licensed practical nurses fuel the health care field, and they must work in teams to help other people get better. If you feel that you can handle this ever-changing career path, you should have great rewards in store for your future.
Step 1 – Get an Education
You will not need an extensive education to become a licensed practical nurse, but you will need some formal training before you can work with patients. As a whole, you just need to know enough to be able to deal with patients on a medical basis. You will need to learn how to check vital signs, administer simple medications, file medical paperwork, and cover other basic duties in a health care facility. Possible degrees that may show you how to do that include:
- Diploma in Nursing (DN)
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
An associate’s degree or diploma program should only take about two years to complete, but a bachelor’s degree will require four years of time. If you go through a master’s degree program to work in a special sector of nursing, you will spend an additional two years getting an education. Luckily, you can take most of your classes online. That way you can still work as an LPN while you get the training you need for higher positions in the future.
Step 2 – Pass a Licensure Exam
With your education complete, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, or NCLEX-PN. This is an exam that reflects your overall knowledge in nursing. You can take practice exams online and in some of your nursing classes, but you should be able to pass this as long as you pay attention in class. Obtaining a certification through the test will allow you to work as an LPN, but you may have to take other tests to complete the job requirements for your area. You can refer to your local nursing board for more information on that regard.
Step 3 – Gain Work Experience
You should be able to jump straight into a job as an LPN, but you may want to go through an apprenticeship program before doing so. That will give you a chance to get some of the hands-on training you may have missed out on in your degree. You can work alongside actual LPNs to get a feel for the job, and then you can go about finding it yourself.
Step 4 – Find a Job
With all of your training in place, the only step left is to get a job as an LPN. You can look for openings in local hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and much more. There is a high demand for nurses at the moment, especially at the entry level. As long as you meet the requirements for a specific application, you should be able to obtain a job in no time. Then you can show other people how to become an LPN in the future.