A Licensed Practical Nurse Job Description: LPN Duties, Required Education and Training Obligations

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Licensed practical nurses are valuable members of the health care team in hospitals, private practices, clinics, long-term care facilities, and even employee health services. Also called LPNs, licensed practical nurses have a wide range of duties and need to have the skills to deal with many patients effectively. If you are thinking about becoming an LPN, review this information on duties of LPN professionals and the average LPN salary.


The duties of LPN professionals vary from one setting to the next, but most LPNs are responsible for providing basic bedside care. This means taking vital signs, preparing injections, dressing wounds, and changing bandages. They may also help with caring for patients by bathing patients, helping them to dress, and helping them perform basic activities such as showering and brushing their teeth. More experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and provide them with instructions and assignments to be completed.

Licensed Practical Nurse Job Description: LPN Training and Education

In order to become a licensed practical nurse, you need to complete LPN training, which is often offered by vocational schools or career centers. These programs usually last one year and prepare students for the LPN career with courses in anatomy, physiology, laboratory procedures, and patient care. Students may be exposed to specialty patient care areas such as obstetrics or geriatrics. Once this LPN training is completed, the NCLEX-PN certification exam must be taken in order for a new LPN to get certified. Certification is necessary for employment as a licensed practical nurse.

Licensed Practical Nurse Job Description: LPN Employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the LPN occupation is expected to grow 14 percent between 2006 and 2016. Because the duties of LPN professionals are so comprehensive, licensed practical nurses can be employed in a wide variety of settings. LPNs employed in a hospital may find themselves working in a patient unit such as obstetrics or psychiatry. Private physician practices employ licensed practical nurses to take patient vital signs, help collect lab specimens, and assist physicians with patient examinations. Companies that perform employment physicals or employee drug testing also employee LPNs. In this setting, the LPN may be responsible for collecting samples, preparing patients for exams, and assisting physicians with employment physicals.

Licensed Practical Nurse Job Description: Job Environment

The job environment for a licensed practical nurse is similar to that of a registered nurse or nursing assistant. Universal precautions must be taken in order to prevent the spread of disease. Licensed practical nurses may come into contact with a variety of diseases, making preventive medical care and vaccines very important. This career requires the physical ability to help lift patients, assist patients with sitting and walking, and work with machines and medical equipment.

Further Reading on the Licensed Practical Nurse Job Description

For more information on the licensed practical nurse job description, consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics page on Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses.