A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the direction of physicians and registered nurses (RNs) to provide medical assistance to patients in hospitals or clinics. While LPNs and RNs have many of the same duties, the main difference between the two is the amount of education required for each, and, therefore, the amount of responsibilities given to each. LPNs are not required to have as much education as RNs, and they have fewer responsibilities and authorization because of it. Some of the duties of an LPN include completing patient assessments and checking patients’ vital signs; helping patients bathe, dress, and manage their personal hygiene; administering certain medications; and helping RNs and doctors perform tests. Although LPNs do not have the same authority as RNs, they are vital assets to medical facilities because of the support they provide for RNs and for doctors, as well the amount of care they are able to provide to their patients.
What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Licensed Practical Nursing?
Earning an online degree or certificate in licensed practical nursing and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) will allow you to work in clinics or hospitals and provide care for patients under the supervision of RNs and doctors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary for LPNs is $41,360 a year. However, this can vary depending on the type of facility you work at, the amount of experience you have, and where you live. The BLS shows that the top-paying state is Connecticut, with an average salary of $53,280 a year, and the top-paying metropolitan area is Santa Rosa, Calif., with an average salary of $58,460 a year. Keep in mind that these figures are not guaranteed because competition for these positions is high.
What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Licensed Practical Nursing?
Licensed practical nurses must complete an LPN program, usually a one-year program, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. There are numerous schools for LPN programs to choose from that allow you to take nursing courses online and prepare for the NCLEX-PN. These courses will focus on multiple aspects of patient care and medical practice, such as anatomy, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and practical nursing care, which teaches you how to assess and care for each individual patient.
Taking your classes online will allow you to complete your LPN program around your schedule; however, because nursing is a very hands-on career, direct training is required to complete an LPN program, even online. This means you will need to participate in on-site training, also known as clinical hours, at hospitals and/or medical clinics. LPNs are not usually required to complete internship programs because of the in-the-field training they receive by completing their clinical hours. After you complete your online LPN program, you will be ready for the NCLEX-PN, which will increase your chances of beginning a career as an LPN.
There are also programs that are specifically designed for LPNs that want to become RNs. These online LPN-to-RN courses will more extensively cover much of what you learned while completing your LPN program, as well as additional topics, such as leadership and organizational management in health care, since RNs supervise LPNs. You will also be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), obtain your license, and begin a career as an RN.
Becoming an RN will allow you to take on more responsibilities and have more authorization when it comes to certain things, such as administering medications. In addition to this, you will most likely receive a boost in pay. According to the BLS, the average national salary for RNs is $67,720 a year. Although this is not a guarantee, it’s a nice incentive to pursue an RN license.