A career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) can provide a lucrative future with a multitude of options for employment opportunities in 2014. With successful completion of a state approved LPN curriculum, you may earn your certificate in practical nursing in approximately three semesters.
Steps to Becoming an LPN
Although Licensed Practical Nursing program requirements vary by state, generally, the steps to achieving your LPN may include:
- A formal application for program admission selection
- Prerequisites designed to strengthen your aptitude in math and English
- An entry examination that measures your reasoning and communication abilities
- Completion of an LPN program approved by the State Board of Nursing
Goals of a Practical Nursing Program
A practical nursing program provides LPN courses that prepare you for the duties and responsibilities of a practical nurse (PN). LPNs provide nursing care for patients in their charge, promote health and provide preventative care. Your program of study empowers you with critical thinking skills and the diagnostic reasoning abilities required for a safe, successful nursing practice. The LPN course outline is designed to prepare you for a passing score on the NCLEX-PN state licensing examination in your state of practice.
What you can Learn in an LPN Program
The program length, cost and required courses may vary for your program; however, your LPN curriculum may generally include education courses that total a range of 39 to 58 credit hours. Typically, your curriculum may include classes that improve your professionalism and train you to perform as an LPN.
Mathematic Application courses increase your ability to interpret medication orders and provide patients with the correct dosages in a timely manner. Basic math and Algebra courses are typically three to six credits as an essential course component for PN students.
English composition courses are vital to the role of the LPN. Nurses must possess superior communication skills to converse with physicians, advocate for patients and perform medical documentation in medical charting.
Biology courses focus on human anatomy and physiology and are provided in two or more classes during your program of study. An understanding of the function of the body is necessary for nurses to detect dysfunction or disease in their patients.
Nutrition classes provide you with vital knowledge to ensure your patients maintain a proper diet, fluid hydration and essential vitamins and minerals during their care.
Health assessment instruction provides you with the skills required of a nurse who examines and evaluates patients of all ages for abnormalities or disease conditions. Assessment skills are crucial for patient care and treatment.
Fundamentals of nursing generally instructs you on patient teaching skills, assessing patient knowledge levels, factors that affect learning and assessment of patient needs. Nursing care plans are constructed to meet the needs of a patient’s learning requirements and health experience.
Psychology courses are nursing related and provide insight and information on the treatment and assessment of patients who are challenged by mental health disorders.
Adult, maternal and child, and geriatric nursing provide the appropriate nursing actions required to provide care, health assessment and treatment for patients across the lifespan. This course also includes insight and information on nursing care for the family and diverse communities.
Pharmacology courses introduce you to the action, purpose and route of drug therapies for patients. Understanding the calculation of medication dosages, intravenous fluids and pediatric medicine is essential to student graduates in nursing.
A Career in Practical Nursing
As healthcare reform in 2013 continues to provide access to care for more individuals in years to come, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects LPN positions to grow 22 percent faster than other professions. If you are considering a career as a practical nurse, find out more information on the LPN curriculum, course requirements and prerequisites by reading the article Prerequisites for Practical Nursing Programs now.