What Does an LPN Do?

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Written by Aislinn Twohig Marketing Campaign Manager, IntelyCare
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There are seemingly endless degrees that you can choose to pursue when you’re debating career paths in nursing. Caring for patients is at the heart of many of these roles, but the specific requirements, duties, pay, and work environments can vary depending on where your put your focus. Among these roles is that of an LPN. What does an LPN do, exactly? Let’s find out.

What Is an LPN and What Does LPN Stand For?

LPN stands for licensed practical nurse. As an LPN, you’ll be part of a bigger healthcare team that assists patients daily. In this role, you administer nursing care in various settings, including nursing homes, under a registered nurse’s (RN’s) supervision. Note that in Texas and California, these professionals are called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), while other states use the term LPN.

LPNs are trained professionals who have had to undergo rigorous training and licensing to practice nursing. They are also known for their patience and compassion in helping patients who need extra care and attention. The standard work routine of an LPN is physically challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

What Does an LPN Do?

LPN responsibilities center around providing patients with primary and essential care, including monitoring vital signs, bathing, dressing, and other needs. An LPN also works with the patient’s families to understand procedures and cater to their sick relatives. Typical LPN duties include:

  • Providing basic care like helping with eating, bathing, and toileting
  • Monitoring patient’s vitals
  • Consulting with RNs on care plans for patients and evaluating their effectiveness
  • Arranging for tests when there is a need for one
  • Use of specialized equipment like ventilators to treat patients
  • Helping patients with transitions to ensure that they understand available options

To learn more about what you might do in this role, look at this sample LPN job description and sample LPN resume.

Is an LPN a Nurse?

Yes, an LPN is a nurse. (It’s right there in the name: licensed practical nurse.) LPNs must complete an accredited educational program and pass a licensing exam in order to be employed in this role.

What Is an LPN vs. RN?

The difference between LPN and RN degrees is the length and scope of required education. RNs must complete an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), which can take from 18 months to 4 years, depending on the degree. Additionally, RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

The LPN scope of practice is less than that of an RN. To be an LPN, you can complete a board-approved program in about 12 months. You must also receive a passing score on the NCLEX-PN exam.

So, what does an LPN do that’s different from an RN? An LPN tends to focus more on providing care and comfort to a patient and act as an assistant to an RN.

Where Do LPNs Work?

Nurses play a vital role in every healthcare system, but hospitals tend to employ a greater number of RNs than LPNs. As an LPN, you’d tend to find a greater demand in post-acute care settings. LPNs can apply their skills in health settings such as:

  • Nursing homes and residential care facilities
  • Rehab facilities
  • Home health care
  • Outpatient surgery centers
  • Extended care facilities
  • Private practices
  • Other clinical facilities

Although licensed LPNs work in several healthcare settings, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are the most common places.

Best Cities for LPNs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the metropolitan areas with the highest level of employment for LPNs:

Check out all the LPN jobs on IntelyCare now to get more insight into where you could work.

Wondering How to Become an LPN?

You need the following LPN education requirements to practice:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Certification from an accredited LPN program
  • An Authorization to Test through your local board of nursing
  • Passing grade on the NCLEX-PN exam

Once you pass the exam, your State Board of Nursing will email you your results and license.

What Are the Benefits of Working as an LPN?

The answer to the question “what does an LPN do?” is pretty encompassing, but so are the rewards of the job. Here are just a few:

Speedy Entry: It takes about four years to finish an RN degree. By comparison, you can become a practicing LPN after passing the NCLEX-PN exam in as little as 12 months.

Growth Opportunities: You have an option to further your education and become a registered nurse while working. A licensed practical nursing career makes the best springboard for LPNs to leap to an RN career.

Flexibility: Few careers allow work routines flexible enough to balance work and life. But nursing is one of them. Licensed practical nurses have the opportunity to choose work shifts and schedules that meet their needs.

Working as a per-diem LPN provides even more opportunities to build the perfect schedule. But be careful — not all per-diem nursing jobs are created equal. W-2 roles are ideal for the nursing professional that wants greater flexibility, with the added bonus of employer benefits.

What Is an LPN Expected to Earn?

The median LPN salary is $48,070 per year, around $23 per hour. (In terms of LPN vs. RN salary, an RN earns a median of $77,600 per year, around $37 per hour.) Pay and benefits vary according to your certifications, years of service, and where you’re practicing. For example, with IntelyCare, LPNs are hired as W-2 employees who earn weekly pay and benefits.

What Does an LPN Do for IntelyCare? Find Out Today

Looking for a flexible career in healthcare that allows you to truly make a difference? Learn about all the ways joining IntelyCare can provide you with excellent career opportunities.