For people who know that they want to enter the nursing profession to get a good job with plenty of good pay, a great, convenient path is to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN.
An LPN is a registered nurse or RN who has earned either a two year associate’s degree in nursing or a diploma of nursing. After you complete your RN program, you will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Once you pass that, you will be able to work as an LPN.
Where LPNs Work
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, LPNs work in the following areas the most:
- Residential care facilities: 38%
- Hospitals: 17%
- Doctors’ offices: 13%
- Home health care services: 11%
- Government – state, local and federal: 7%
If you want to start your LPN career today, be sure to check out these 10 awesome jobs that you can do with your diploma or associate’s degree:
#1 School LPN
LPNs can find very good, steady, good paying work in an elementary or secondary school in many school districts in the US. Students in any school will often need care for minor illnesses including flu, cold, vomiting, lice, sore throat and other minor conditions.
Working in a school as an LPN is advantageous for many nurses because they are not working the typical 12 hour, hospital shift. Many LPNs also prefer to work with children and teenagers in a different type of environment outside of a regular health care facility.
#2 Home Care LPN
Another different type of LPN job and career outside of a traditional hospital or health care center is a home center or home care LPN. There are many patients who eventually transition out of a health care facility and need care at home. This is more common today, as patients are kept in the hospital for shorter periods and are sent home more quickly to save money.
Some LPNs prefer this type of environment because it allows them to get to know one or a few patients over a longer period of time. In this type of one on one situation, it is very important for the LPN to have very good personal and communication skills.
#3 Nursing Home LPN
A nursing home or long term care LPN setting will provide clinical nursing care to patients who are not expected to improve markedly. These types of patients could be there for a very long time, and even until they die. LPNs serve very important roles in these longer term care situations.
For instance, if a patient suffers a stroke and goes to the hospital for a week for care, he may become stabilized and improve somewhat. At that point, he may go into a rehabilitation program so that he can regain movement, speech and the ability to eat and drink But at some point, his progress will not improve, and he may need to be moved to a nursing care facility.
The typical work shift in this type of LPN position is either a 12 hour or 8 hour shift. LPNs in this type of job will be working mostly with elderly patients, and you need to be able to communicate well with people who may be lonely. Many of them may suffer chronic pain and could be moody and hard to work with at some times.
#4 Rehabilitation LPN
A rehabilitation facility provides very specialized care to patients who need to regain basic living skills after they have had a surgery or some type of medical problem. Patients should be improving their living and motor skills there with the help of LPNs, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other health care professionals.
As a rehabilitation LPN, you will usually work closely with an RN to provide basic care for the needs of rehab patients. For instance, a patient may have gotten a hip replacement and stayed in the hospital for three days. But they must regain their leg and muscle strength, as well as the ability to walk on crutches, to be able to go home. The patient will go to the rehabilitation facility to do these things.
#5 Hospital LPN
A hospital LPN job is often the entry point for most beginning LPNs who need to gain work experience with many different types of patients., You will usually be working with patients who are staying in the hospital for a short time after they have become ill or just had some type of surgery.
The LPN will always work under the close supervision of an RN in doing clinical care. Many community hospitals will hire LPNs, but you should know that if you want to work at a large teaching hospital, you will usually need to earn your BSN degree so that you can become a registered nurse.
An advantage of working in the hospital is that you will be able to obtain plenty of experience with all types of patients in a very short time. Some nurses find the 12 hour grind of a regular hospital tiresome after a few years. Some may want to move into different types of LPN environments eventually.
#6 Urgent Care LPN
This type of healthcare setting is becoming more popular these days, and is a new type of work opportunity for LPNs. The LPN will often be a part of the regular staff and will help the doctor or NP to take vital signs, drug history, weight and height of patients and other follow up tests that are ordered after the patient visit.
This LPN role tends to be less stressful in many communities and is a good LPN job for a nurse with experience. However, an urgent care LPN job in a busy urban area can be very fast paced and stressful.
#7 Doctor’s Office LPN
LPNs often work in doctors’ offices that are staffed by several physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants. They will work closely with an RN and will help to prepare patients for their examinations, take their medical history, give them injections, administer drugs and even help with minor medical procedures.
This sort of LPN position is a good fit for a busy professional who needs to have a regular eight hour, Monday through Friday shift, typically a mother or father with a family and small children. Most hospitals LPN jobs have 12 hour shifts seven days per week, and a doctor’s office job is a better personal fit.
#8 Emergency Room LPN
For the LPN who thrives under pressure and enjoys working under stress and where things change constantly, you may want to work in an ER.
Every day is going to be different in the ER; it is very common for things to be slow for hours, and then suddenly you will have 10 different patients to handle. Most ER’s work 24/7, so you will have unusual shifts that include working at night and on weekends.
There are many patients in ER’s who have major injuries, and seeing these types of things are upsetting for some people. So, that is a consideration before you become an ER LPN.
#9 Labor and Delivery LPN
A labor and delivery LPN job is desirable for many nurses because it gives you the chance to work in situations where the outcome is not illness and death. On the other hand, you are working with patients who are giving birth to children, and many of your patients will actually be relatively healthy newborns.
You may work in a hospital setting, but you will be specialized in the delivery and labor area. You may help the doctor to deliver a regular birth or possibly a Cesarean section. This type of LPN also could work in a post partum floor caring for the mother and the new born baby.
You will be working with RNs, doctors, nurse midwives and nursing assistants, so you will need to be able to work well with a large health care team.
#10 Pediatric LPN
Becoming an LPN is a nice career choice because there are so many different specialty areas that you can select. Many nurses want to work as pediatric LPNs because it affords them the chance to work with children and to help them to manage an illness and to get better.
Many hospitals prefer to give these LPN jobs to nurses who have three or four years of experience with adults. Common duties in a hospital pediatric ward often include taking care of wounds; helping the child to eat, drink bathe and go to the bathroom; and to help them to get dressed and undressed.
If you work at a doctor’s office, you will work with children to take their vital signs, give them drugs and vaccinations, and perform tests on them under the supervision of an RN or doctor.
Those are the best, most popular LPN jobs available today. And, remember, once you have attained several years of work experience, you can consider earning your LPN to BSN degree, so that you can improve your salary and career prospects.