Why Choose a Career as a Licensed Practical Nurse?
People who choose to train as licensed practical nurses usually want to start nursing, but also enter the workforce quickly and collect a paycheck. If you see yourself as a nurse, and you are interested in the healthcare industry, LPN training is a great way to get started.
There are a variety of different levels of care that can be provided to patients in the hospital under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. In some places, medical assistants do some of the easy tasks. There are very short education courses to become a medical assistant, and the pay, while better than minimum wage, is not very high. If you can invest more time, you can pursue training to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), also known as vocational nurse.
LPNs take care of patients. They help administer medications and oxygen, keep an eye on catheters, and watch how much fluid a patient takes in and puts out. LPNs change surgical dressings, put hot or cold compresses on areas to relieve pain, and even do massage. They help patients walk; they help patients to the bathroom. They will also feed patients if they need to. They may be taking care of geriatric patients, newborn babies, or anyone in between.
A lot of LPNs work in residential care facilities, or nursing homes. Some are supervisors with medical assistants to watch over. But they also provide hands-on nursing care in the residential care facilities. An LPN is likely to tell you that she enjoys finding the time during her shifts to interact with the residents. A good licensed practical nurse takes care of the patients that a lot of people don't want to see. If they don't have family or other visitors, the LPN may be the only person who takes the time to care about the patient in a nursing home.
Later, you can add onto your basic LPN training. You can be certified in IV (intravenous) therapy, for example. Another great thing about choosing to start a nursing career as an LPN is that you can easily "upgrade" later and train as an RN. There are many schools across the country with LPN-to-RN programs. There are even online LPN-to-RN programs. Sometimes your employer may pay for you to get more education. Since you are already working in a medical setting, once you get your RN you are likely to have much less trouble finding a job. There may be one waiting for you.
It is true that some people want to go straight through nursing college and get an RN and a bachelor of science in nursing. But if you don't have the money or time to invest right now, and you want to get some training but also get started working, getting an LPN may be the best choice.