A career in healthcare is very accessible and one of the best entrance points is a job as a licensed nurse practitioner (LPN).
The typical job of an LPN involves providing routine care, monitoring patient health and providing assistance to other healthcare professionals. LPNs are usually responsible for giving medication, tracking vital signs, following up on the treatment of wounds, giving immunizations and managing medical records.
LPNs can normally wrap up their training and begin working in the field within two years. The job of an LPN can also be a jumping off point for other opportunities and further education in healthcare.
Below is a brief summary of the steps needed to get a job as an LPN:
Consider Your Personality and Natural Abilities
Think about why you want to become an LPN. Is it for the right reasons? Does the job fit with your disposition?
LPNs must work with patients and families, often during very trying times. The job requires a lot of compassion, patience and understanding. It also requires good communication abilities, focus and dedication.
Take an Accredited Training Program
To earn an LPN license, you need to pass the NCLEX-PN licensing exam after passing an accredited, state-approved LPN training program. Try to find a program with accreditation through either the American Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Check to see that you meet the requirements of the training program before signing up. Most programs require either a high school diploma or a GED. Some programs also have incoming students to go through background checks and physical exams.
The training itself mainly involves classroom and laboratory instruction on a range of topics, like anatomy and microbiology. If you are not familiar with medical terminology, the program may be difficult at first, but the terms will become second nature if you stick with it.
Pass the Test
The NCLEX-PN exam is given at testing locations throughout the country. The cost of the test is around $200, and you have five hours to finish answering between 85 to 205 multiple-choice questions that cover four categories. The exam is given on computers and the questions adjust based on your answers. Results of the test are given immediately and if you don’t pass, you can retake the exam after 45 days.
An LPN license is only valid in the state where it was earned. However, becoming licensed in other states without further training is a simple, straightforward process.
For jobs where your license is valid, apply with a professional resume and cover letter. With the high rate of demand for LPNs in most areas around the country, getting that first job should not be too difficult.
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