What is Practical Nursing?

The 2016-2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook states that in 2014, licensed practical vocational nurses held about 719,900 jobs. Thirty-eight percent of the LPNs worked in nursing and residential care facilities, 17% in hospitals, 13 % in physicians’ offices, and 11% in home health care services. Employment of licensed practical nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Most practical nursing programs last about one year and are offered by vocational and technical schools or community colleges. The program consists of classroom theory in the biological and behavioral sciences and nursing, in addition to supervised clinical experience. Upon graduation, the practical nurse receives a diploma or certificate in nursing and may then be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Upon passing this national examination, one is then a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Practical Nurses must be aware of the contents of the nurse practice act of the state in which they are employed. Their role is found in this law and the law differs from state to state.

The initials “LPN” are an abbreviation for Licensed Practice Nurse. The LPN functions under the direction of a person licensed in this state to prescribe medications and treatments or under the direction of a registered professional nurse.