What Does LPN Training Consist of?


Once you have decided to train for your LPN certificate and you have applied to training schools, what should you expect to learn during your training? It is assumed that you have your high school diploma or GED. Some LPN training schools will give you a test to get an idea of your basic capabilities, called a Scholastic Level Exam. Others may make you take an introductory science class, called Essential Medical Bioscience.

Once you get started, LPN training is a mix of classroom learning and hands-on clinical practice, or supervised patient care. The classroom work can include the following, as these subjects relate to nursing care of patients:

  • Chemistry (the building blocks of both people and medication)
  • Biology (the science of studying living things)
  • Anatomy (the physical structure of the body)
  • Physiology and Pathophysiology (how things work in the body, and how they go wrong)
  • Nutrition (what we should be eating)
  • Pharmacology (medication)
  • Child Growth and Development (what is normal for children)
  • Death and Dying (the process and what to expect)
  • Common Medical Disorders
  • Diagnostic Tests

If you go to a private college, you can find facilities built especially for nursing training.

As you learn more about human health and disease, you will be moving out of the classroom and into clinical settings. You will be taught practical nursing skills. You need to see actual patients and practice what you will be doing in your job. Clinical training will include:

  • General Medical/Surgical Nursing (adult patients with illnesses or after surgery)
  • Pediatric Nursing (care of children)
  • First Aid and Emergency Medical Technology
  • Obstetrical Nursing (women giving birth)

LPN training is generally taught by registered nurses who may have advanced degrees in education. If you attend a community college, you may be taking classes in regular classrooms, and then going to a nearby hospital or doctor's office to do your clinical work. Class sizes can be big, with up to 75 students.

If you go to a private college, you can find facilities built especially for nursing training, which can include diagnostic labs, ultrasound labs, physical medicine labs, cardiovascular labs, and computer labs. There are programs with classroom sizes of 15 or less students. These programs may cost more.

If you have chosen a program that allows you to take classes evenings and weekends, you may have to switch to days for your clinical work, especially if it is in a doctor's office. There are some schools now that have made arrangements with hospitals so that you do your clinical work on the weekend. These programs take about 80 weeks to finish, as opposed to a year.

By the end of the training, you should be prepared to take the NCLEX-PN exam. You will have been taught the necessary information. Some schools will give you extra, for example a class specifically designed to help you pass the test. That would include not only the knowledge needed, but also test-taking skills. Some schools will also give you a class in how to apply for a job, write a resume, and present yourself for an interview.

Schools offering LPN Programs

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