Be it the honesty and the ethics that come with the job or the emotional satisfaction, thousands of young people are opting for a career in nursing. And just to let you know that it isn’t all emotional, nursing also happens to be one of the most rewarding career options.
There is a surging demand for trained and skilled nurses around the world which also gives you an opportunity to work in just about any country provided you have the right credentials and certifications.
Coming to the credentials part of it, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what is needed for a nursing career. Just recently, we received a bunch of emails from our readers who were confused between an LPN and a registered nurse.
If you are looking for LPN jobs and wish to know about the possible career options for an LPN, then here’s a guide that covers the basics.
An overview of a career as an LPN
An LPN or a licensed practical nurse is often considered as a stepping stone into the world of nursing. LPNs are entrusted with providing basic nursing to patients that rarely involves medication or treatment modalities if they choose to work in a nursing home.
Some of the responsibilities that an LPN may be entrusted with are:
- Daily care for the patient
- Checking blood pressure
- Cleaning any wounds or applying bandages when necessary
- Monitoring the vitals
- Compiling a health status report
- Working closely with both patients as well as Registered Nurses
However, there are other LPN jobs options too which are ideal for anyone who wishes to work outside of a nursing home. We will touch that ahead in the article.
An LPN may also be called as an LVN or a licensed vocational nurse in some parts of the world.
Qualification & Licensure
Aspiring LPNs are expected to complete a three year nursing program from any accredited nursing college followed by the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). The three year program encompasses a blend of subjects like pharmacology, biology and also involves training in a clinical setup.
In addition to universities, many community colleges and technical colleges also offer the three year program for LPNs.
The top options for LPN Jobs
Unlike a decade ago, when the only possible options for LPNs was to work in a nursing home or any other patient setup, today there are multiple avenues that have opened up. One of the most popular ones being pharmaceutical jobs for LPNs.
Pharmaceutical companies are hiring skilled and experienced LPNs who can apply their knowledge in a specialized therapeutic area for product development or even as patient educators. While the job for a patient educator is a specialized one that demands the qualification of a Registered Nurse, the staggering demand has made it possible for LPNs also to land these jobs.
A patient educator works closely, often in the homes of patients with chronic conditions like Diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis educating them on the use of the right medications. Pharmaceutical companies hire LPNs on their payroll because of their obvious knowledge and skill in healthcare and also because it helps them connect with the patient, keeping them on the medication and thereby boosting sales.
This is just one of the LPN jobs though that is perfect for anyone looking to work beyond a nursing home or a patient setup.
Other options include working in assisted living facilities, old age homes and other institutions. Pharmaceutical companies themselves can offer a variety of job options for nurses including clinical research (college degree is mandatory).
Physician’s Office: Physicians often require the services of a full time LPN. This may seem like most mundane LPN jobs. But it offers plethora of challenges for the LPN including the option to work with patients of all ages. Apart from helping them gain credible expertise, it is also one of the best ways to hone their skills. There is always an option to choose a job in a specialty setup like dermatology, ophthalmology, cardiac care or endocrinology. This may prove to be a very valuable experience if the LPN wishes to opt for a pharmaceutical job in future.
Administrative roles: Most LPNs never consider a career in the administrative department in a pharmaceutical company or even at a physician’s office. But due to the knowledge and the training of working in a healthcare facility, many physicians prefer hiring LPNs to work behind the scenes attending patient calls, making outcalls and co-coordinating between the patients and the doctors.
Occupational Health Nurse: One of the lesser known LPN jobs is working in a factory setup as an occupational health nurse. The responsibility of an LPN does not change much and will involve administering basic medical care like first aid when need be. Other than this, they may also be entrusted with the role of promoting safety norms and ensuring compliance.
Becoming an RN
One of the best career advancements for an LPN is to graduate with further qualification and certifications to become a registered nurse. To pursue this, the LPN will have to enroll in a program that is called LPN to RN. An RN requires an associate degree in nursing which in normal circumstances is a three year program. But LPNs already have their course credits which can reduce the duration of the RN program by a year.