Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)


Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) care for the sick, injured, convalescent and disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses. Most LPNs provide basic bedside care. They take vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse. The prepare and give injections, monitor catheters, treat bedsores and help feed patients. LPNs also assist with bathing, dressing and personal hygiene. Experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and aides. In doctor's offices, they also may make appointments, keep records and perform other clerical duties. LPNs who work in private homes may prepare meals and teach family members simple nursing tasks. LPSn in nursing care facilities help to evaluate residents' needs and develop care plans.

Working Conditions

Most LPNs work in hospitals and nursing care facilities, 40 hours a week. But they may work nights, weekends and holidays. Standing for long periods of time is not unusual.


Annual earnings range from $24,000 to $44,000, with offices of physicians earning the least amount and employment services companies earning the highest amounts.

Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study

A caring, sympathetic nature is important to being a good LPN. Working with the sick and injured can be stressful, so one needs to be emotionally stable. Good observational skills, decision-making and communication skills are also important. LPNs work as part of a team. Classes to take for this career include sciences, such as biology, anatomy and physiology, English and first-aide.

Related Jobs

Emergency medical technicians, medical assistants, nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, registered nurses, social and human service assistants and surgical technologists.

Education & Training

A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required. All States require LPNs to pass a licensing examination after completing a State-approved practical nursing program. There are 1,200 State-approved programs nationwide and last about one year.

Job Outlook

There should be good job opportunities in nursing care facilities and in home health care services. Most jobs openings will come from replacement needs.

Sources for Additional Information

National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc.
P.O.Box 25647
Alexandra, VA 22313

National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, Inc.
605 Poole Dr.
Garner, NC 27529