How to become an LPN or LVN

The licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) provides basic health care services to patients. LPN jobs include things like taking vital signs, caring for wounds, assisting with patient mobility, hygiene and feeding, cleaning equipment, collecting lab samples, educating patients on health issues, completing medical forms, and administering injections or enemas. While hospitals will continue to be the main employer of LPNs/LVNs, a significant increase is expected in the need for home health care nurses and for nurses employed by other nursing care facilities as our elderly population grows.

So what does it take to become an LPN or LVN? Well, other than a strong sense of compassion, strength and patience while under stress, and excellent decision-making, observational, listening and communication skills, you will also need the proper training and licensure.

Enrolling in an LPN or LVN nursing program

Before qualifying to take the exam to become licensed as an LPN or LVN, you typically need a high school diploma and will also have to complete an appropriate nurse training program. Make sure to find a program near you that is approved by your State’s board of nursing.

Training programs will usually take one year and will involve class time as well as practical, clinical patient care in hospitals or other patient care facilities.

Licensing

To become licensed as a practical nurse, you will have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Questions on the exam can be sorted into the following categories:

  • psychosocial integrity
  • health promotion and maintenance
  • physiological integrity
  • safe and effective care environment

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