Careers in Practical Nursing
Careers in Practical Nursing
WHEN YOU ARE FEELING AT YOUR WORST, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is often the first person you see, adding a human touch to a scary medical situation. These healthcare professionals are a vital part of the healthcare system, working under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses (RNs). They provide direct patient care that ranges from feeding and bathing, to checking vital signs and administering medication. In addition to patients are comfortable and well cared for, they keep detailed medical records, monitor patients' conditions, and explain procedures and care plans to patients and family members. In short, the work of LPNs is very similar to that of registered nurses.LPNS are essential to nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and doctors' offices. They also provide one-on-one care in private homes. Most work full time, but part-time jobs are common for those wanting flexibility and more control over their work/life balance.In return for a minimal amount of education, you can expect job security and financial stability. There is a serious nursing shortage in the US that is expected to worsen as the Baby Boom population continues to reach retirement age. The nursing shortage may not be good news for those requiring care, but it does mean newly licensed LPNs are assured of good jobs upon graduation. Furthermore, the federal government predicts that there will be continuing demand for LPNs that is far greater than the average for all other occupations. The demand will be greatest in long-term residential care facilities and in home health environments, especially in rural and other medically under served communities.While earnings will vary depending on employer and location, the median annual salary for practical nurses is $45,000. The good news is that a growing field with high demand like this is expected to push salaries up significantly over the next 10 years.Many who choose this career are surprised at the flexibility and choices available to them. LPNs can choose to work for a single employer or rotate through different settings assigned by an agency. They can decide what kinds of patients they care for and even get special certification in certain types of nursing care that will help advance their careers. They can choose their hours and shifts that provide the ideal work/life balance. For the nurse with a yen to move about, traveling nurses are in high demand all over the country. It is a great way to see the country and get paid considerably more than a staff nurse working full time for a single employer.Make no mistake, nursing is a demanding job, but if you are a compassionate individual with a good tolerance for stress, nothing could be more fulfilling. If you are considering a career in healthcare, becoming a licensed practical nurse could be the right choice for you.
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