When thinking of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), people tend to imagine them operating only in crowded hospitals. But in reality, employment of LPNs goes beyond that healthcare facility. So, where can LPNs work, or where is the best place to work as an LPN?
Let’s explore the top places LPNs work and their range of responsibilities within different settings.
What Is an LPN?
LPNs are healthcare professionals who have completed a practical nursing program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
LPNs provide basic nursing care, such as taking vital signs, administering medication, and assisting with activities of daily living under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a physician. In addition to being qualified care providers, they offer education and support to patients and families. You can learn more about the profession of an LPN by clicking here.
Where Can LPNs Work?
LPNs have many employment opportunities in various settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, clinics, and more. LPNs can perform in emergency rooms, operating rooms, or medical-surgical units depending on the environment where they are employed.
While their duties and responsibilities remain almost the same through different healthcare establishments, the level of autonomy and the patient population might change. In a nursing home, for example, LPNs provide daily care to residents, administer medications, and document patient information.
Curious to know more about each work environment and how their role differs from one setting to another? Keep reading!
Can LPNs work in hospitals? Yes, they can. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hospitals employ 15% of LPNs, making them the second most common place for LPNs to work after nursing and residential care facilities, which come in first place with 35%. LPNs working in hospitals collaborate closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals, generally helping with patient care tasks.
2. Nursing homes
LPNs play a vital role in the care of residents in nursing homes. They are responsible for ensuring residents’ safety and well-being and working as a team to provide the best care. Their duties include:
- Assessing the health and wellness of residents: LPNs are responsible for conducting regular health assessments on residents, including taking vital signs, monitoring for changes in condition, and reporting any concerns to the RN or physician.
- Providing nursing care: LPNs assist residents with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting. They also administer medication, change dressings, and perform other healthcare tasks.
- Communicating with the healthcare team: LPNs work closely with RNs and physicians to share changes in condition and report any issues or concerns to the appropriate healthcare professionals.
- Educating residents and families: LPNs are responsible for educating residents and their families about their condition and how to manage it.
As mentioned earlier, LPNs’ responsibilities remain the same almost in every setting, but the changes in the patient population might affect their autonomy and commitments to a level. Let’s take a look at the following differences:
- Patient population: In nursing homes, LPNs primarily care for older adults with chronic health conditions, while in clinics, their scope of duties falls on a broader range of patients, including children and adults.
- Level of autonomy: LPNs have more freedom and independence in nursing homes as they may be responsible for a specific group of residents. In clinics, LPNs work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician and may have more defined roles and responsibilities.
- Setting: Nursing homes are typically long-term care facilities, while clinics are generally short-term, affecting the type of care provided and the scope of practice for LPNs.
- Responsibilities: In nursing homes, they are responsible for administering medication, performing wound care, and managing chronic health conditions. But in clinics, they are often limited to taking vital signs, preparing patients for exams, and administering medication.
- Interdisciplinary team: LPNs in nursing homes may work as part of a larger multidisciplinary team, including social workers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists, whereas in clinics, they work more closely, mainly with physicians and nurses.
4. Insurance companies
LPNs in insurance companies work closely with insurance providers to make sure that patients’ insurance claims are processed promptly and accurately. LPNs may also be responsible for providing educational resources to help patients better understand their insurance coverage and how to access the healthcare services they need.
5. Rehab facilities
In rehab facilities, they provide direct patient care and assist with the overall rehabilitation process under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians. They also work closely with physical therapists and other rehabilitation staff to ensure that patients receive appropriate care and support during their recovery.
6. Doctor’s office
Just as with other healthcare settings, LPNs’ responsibilities include taking vital signs, administering medication, and performing basic diagnostic tests in the doctor’s office. They also assist with procedures such as wound dressing and injections.
LPNs also play a crucial role in patient education, providing information on medication usage, diet, and exercise. They also help with patient scheduling, insurance, and billing. In addition, LPNs are often the first point of contact for patients, answering questions and addressing concerns.
LPNs play an essential role in schools by ensuring the health and well-being of students and staff. LPNs work closely with school administrators and other healthcare professionals to develop and implement school-wide health policies and procedures. LPNs are responsible for conducting health screenings, such as vision and hearing tests, and providing health counseling to students and staff.
How Much Does an LPN Make?
The salary for an LPN varies depending on factors such as location, experience, and employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for LPNs in the United States is $48,070.
The job outlook for LPNs is positive, with a projected 6% employment growth from 2021 to 2031. The growing elderly population, as well as an increased emphasis on preventative care, is expected to drive the demand for LPNs. Additionally, as more and more registered nurses take on advanced practice roles, LPNs are increasingly filling the gap in providing primary patient care.
Should You Become an LPN?
Becoming an LPN should be based on your personal goals, interests, and career aspirations. If you are still unsure about pursuing such a career, we suggest a few things to consider before making a decision.
- Career Opportunities: LPNs can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and schools. They also have opportunities for advancement, such as becoming an RN or a nurse practitioner.
- Job Outlook: The employment of LPNs is projected to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031.
- Personal Interests: If you enjoy working with people and want to help others, becoming an LPN may be a good fit. It is also a good option for those who want to start a career in healthcare by committing to the short education and training required for an LPNs.
Practical nursing is a great career choice for compassionate and responsible individuals who desire to help others. However, consider all the above mentioned factors before making a final decision.
The Bottom Line
LPNs’ work environment varies depending on their place of employment. They work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, clinics, physician’s offices, schools, and other healthcare facilities. Overall, LPNs perform in a fast-paced, dynamic environment where they must be able to multitask and make quick decisions to provide quality care to their patients.
Studying to become an LPN provides the opportunity to have a fulfilling career in the healthcare field, where you can make a positive impact on the lives of others. Are you ready to become an LPN in just nine months? If yes, check our PN program. Our holistic approach will enrich your skills and knowledge and set you up for success. If you have questions about the program, don’t hesitate to contact us!