What is a LPN Nurse

What is a LPN Nurse?

What is a LPN Nurse

Being a Licensed practical nurse (LPN) is for those who are caring, compassionate, and wish to dive right into their career and begin helping others. Becoming an LPN could be the perfect opportunity for you to get into the healthcare field faster while giving yourself room to grow in your new career and discover your field of passion in the healthcare industry.

LPNs are a vital, hands-on member of the medical team. They act as a liaison between patients and other healthcare professionals. Pursuing a career as an LPN could mean working directly with other nurses and physicians in the day-to-day care of patients in a variety of medical settings.

What does an LPN do?

Are you wondering what an LPN does, exactly? LPNs have many responsibilities. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors to provide basic medical care to patients ¹.

Depending on where you work, hands-on care, medical records, and assisting patients could all be a part of your daily LPN duties. They also do many of the following tasks:

  • Monitor the health of patients by checking and recording their vital signs.
  • Administer duties associated with basic patient care, such as changing bandages, catheter care, and giving medication.
  • Assisting patients with activities, such as helping them bathe or dress.
  • Explain and discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns.
  • Report updates on the status of patients and any concerns to RNs and doctors.
  • Maintain records on patients’ health. ¹

LPNs are an extremely important part of the medical facility where they work. They may perform a wide variety of tasks and need to pivot from patient care to medical records quickly.

Looking to start your career as an LPN? Sign up for LPN Classes today!

Where do LPNs work?

With a practical nurse education, there are several different healthcare facilities where you could work. LPNs have many possible employment options based on whether you are looking for flexible scheduling, future successes, or even location.

Entry-level LPN’s might be found working in the following locations ²:

  • Nursing homes and residential care facilities
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home healthcare services

While not as common, some LPNs may also be found working in hospitals and physicians’ offices.

Becoming an LPN can provide a great amount of flexibility in work settings. Upon graduating and successfully passing your license boards, you could decide which path works best for you.

What is the Difference Between an LPN and an RN?

1. RNs Provide More Advanced Patient Care

LPNs provide basic patient care and are tasked with the comfort of the patient. They may check blood pressure and vitals, take blood samples, change wound dressings and help patients eat and get dressed. Their primary purpose is the overall well-being of the patient during their procedure or hospital stay.

RNs provide more advanced patient care and often take the lead in the overall care of the patient. That can mean managing LPNs or other medical aides in the daily tasks of nursing while working with doctors and other specialists in treatment. RNs may dispense medication, coordinate patient care plans, administer diagnostic tests, and educate patients on their treatment plan.

2. RNs Require Different Education and Training

Another difference between an LPN and an RN is in education and training. LPNs usually earn a diploma or certificate that cover basic nursing and health sciences concepts and typically takes one year to complete. RNs usually need to earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) which can take two years to complete. In some instances, RNs may be required to attain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) to get their RN license.

What is the Difference Between An LPN and a CNA?

Both certified nursing assistants (CNA) and LPNs are important members of the medical care team. LPNs  work frequently with CNAs in the care of a patient. However, there are differences between the two.

1. CNAs are the most entry level of roles

They assist with daily living tasks, including eating, dressing, and bathing.

2. CNAs typically work under the supervision of LPNs and RNs.

You may find them transporting patients, making beds and cleaning up rooms, or reporting changes in condition to nursing staff.

3. Educational Requirements

Another difference between an LPN and CNA is the education requirements. CNAs need a high school diploma or GED certificate and a CNA training program, which can be completed in as little as 4 weeks. As noted before, LPNs are required to receive more extensive education and training for one year or more.

Job outlook for LPN’s

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 60,700 openings for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade.  These openings are projected to be due to several factors.  One of which is the need to replace LPNs who may pursue other occupations within healthcare.  Another is to account for LPNs who leave the field, or retire.³

The overall need for healthcare services is expected to increase in the coming years. This is due in part to baby boomers continuing to age and need these services.  LPNs are needed at residential care facilities and with home health services to care for older patients. In addition, many procedures that once could be done only in hospitals are now being done outside of hospitals, creating demand in other settings, such as outpatient care centers.

Learn more about LPN Classes!

What Training Do I Need to Become an LPN?

LPNs need specific education and skills training to become licensed. Specific requirements vary from state to state, but the majority of LPN candidates must complete a certificate or diploma program and pass a LPN exam from the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).

Steps to becoming an LPN

1. Enroll in an Approved Training Program

In order to become an LPN you must first find and complete an approved training program. Make sure the program you are attending is approved by the state and the school is accredited.

The classes offered in practical nursing school aim to provide you with the skills necessary to build a successful nursing career using a combination of comprehensive in-class curriculum and hands-on training.

LPN programs teach practical nursing skills and responsibilities such as patient care, assisting with patient education, and managing team nursing care delivery. Course topics can include:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Practical Nursing Fundamentals
  • Medical Math Calculations
  • Pharmacology and medication delivery
  • Mental health concepts
  • Medical and surgical nursing
  • Maternal and newborn nursing
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Geriatric nursing

2. Apply for Testing

After successfully completing your LPN training program, you will need to apply for “Authorization to Test” through your local board of nursing and with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

3. Schedule and take your NCLEX-PN Exam

Once you’ve been approved for the Authorization to Test, you’ll schedule your NCLEX-PN exam. There are over 200 testing sites around the U.S. for candidates to choose from.

Upon passing the exam and meeting the other necessary requirements put forth by the Board of Nursing, you’ll then be licensed to be an LPN and can start your career!

How Dorsey College can help fulfill the LPN training requirement

A career-focused nursing education is a critical step to prepare you for a career in healthcare. The Dorsey College Practical Nurse program offers instruction in both a traditional classroom setting as well as a hands-on environment by way of the labs at Dorsey College in addition to clinical training that will take place as part of the program.

Our instructors are caring individuals that possess experience and expertise in their respective field.  In fact, our instructors at Dorsey College meet or exceed State of Michigan and accreditation criteria, guidelines, and qualifications.  In addition, our instructors are committed to the success of our students.  It’s not uncommon for Dorsey College students to see their instructors as their coach or mentor throughout the training program.

The Practical Nurse program is offered at the following Dorsey College campus locations:

If you’re interested in enrolling in the Practical Nurse program at Dorsey College, the first step you should take is meeting with one of our Admissions Representatives.  Request information online and a member of our team will be back in touch with you shortly.  You can read more about our Admissions process, including specific admissions requirements for the Practical Nurse program, on our Admissions information page.

Take the first step to a lasting career in healthcare as a Licensed Practical Nurse by training at Dorsey College! Contact us today!


  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-2
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-3
  3. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-6