What does an LPN do?

Learn all about LPN duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an LPN.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a nurse who cares for people who are sick, injured, or disabled. LPNs work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a doctor.

LPN job duties include:

  • Measuring and recording patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, and respiration rate
  • Administering injections and medications as prescribed by physicians or other health care providers
  • Assisting with diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and electrocardiograms
  • Collecting specimens, such as urine or blood samples
  • Providing basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Monitoring patients’ conditions and reporting changes to physicians or other health care providers
  • Operating medical equipment, such as ventilators and intravenous pumps
  • Supervising certified nurse assistants and other support staff
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Ordering supplies

LPN Job Requirements

An LPN is a licensed practical nurse. The requirements for becoming an LPN vary by state, but generally include completing an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Some states also require LPNs to complete a state-approved training program. In addition to education and certification, employers may also require LPNs to have previous experience working in a healthcare setting.

LPN Skills

  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Good communication skills
  • Team player
  • Good organizational skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Strong work ethic
  • Compassionate
  • Patient
  • Good listener
  • Empathetic
  • Detail oriented

Related: Top LPN Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an LPN

An LPN is a licensed practical nurse. In order to become an LPN, one must attend an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). After passing the NCLEX-PN, the individual must then apply for a state license.

There are many accredited nursing programs available online and at community colleges. The length of these programs can vary, but most take around two years to complete. During these two years, students will take classes such as human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and pharmacology. They will also participate in clinical rotations, where they will gain hands-on experience in a variety of medical settings.

After completing an accredited nursing program, students must then pass the NCLEX-PN. This is a national exam that all prospective LPNs must take in order to become licensed. The NCLEX-PN covers a variety of topics, including safety and infection control, basic care and comfort, nutrition, and more.

Once the NCLEX-PN has been passed, individuals can then apply for their state license. Each state has its own requirements for licensure, so it is important to check with the state board of nursing for specific information. Once licensed, LPNs can begin working in a variety of medical settings, such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more.

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