Practical Nurse FAQs

What a Practical Nurse Does
Becoming a Practical Nurse
The Dorsey Schools Practical Nurse program
Additional Information


What a Practical Nurse Does

What type of work does a Practical Nurse do?
Practical Nurses perform a variety of duties including (but not limited to) answering patient calls, observing patients, providing basic medical and nursing care such as checking blood pressure, dressing wounds, and inserting catheters, assisting patients bathe and dress, discuss health care with patients, and report the status of patients to registered nurses and doctors.


Where do Practical Nurses work?
Practical Nurses traditionally work in nursing care facilities, hospitals, doctors’ offices, home health care service agencies, and residential care facilities.


Will I be able to find a job?
It’s important to note that no school can guarantee employment. Here at Dorsey Schools, we offer career services assistance to all completers of the Practical Nurse program, however, job placement is not guaranteed by Dorsey Schools. You can learn more about the assistance our Career Services team offers by visiting our Career Services for Students and Graduates page. It is worth noting though that according to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 12% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.a In addition, according to the State of Michigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 5.5% from 2014 to 2024.b


How much can I expect to make as a Practical Nurse?
Here are some helpful websites that will allow you to view information on Wages & Employment trends:


Are there other jobs I may be able to obtain as a Practical Nurse?
Practical Nurses may work under other occupational titles such as Licensed Practical Nurse, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Clinic Nurse, Clinic Licensed Practical Nurse, Office Nurse, Private Duty Nurse, and Triage Licensed Practical Nurse. When looking at any position, it’s important to evaluate the duties of the position along with the required skills and knowledge to determine if a candidate may meet the requirements set forth by the employer. In addition, licensure by the State of Michigan is required to obtain gainful employment as a Licensed Practical Nurse and will likely be required for the other occupational titles listed above as well.


How is a Practical Nurse different from other healthcare professionals?
Practical Nurses typically provide “practical” care to patients. They are different from Nurse Aides and Registered Nurses in terms of their scope or practice. Practical Nurses are able to perform more duties and tasks than a Nurse Aide, however, they do not have the responsibilities that a Registered Nurse has on the Healthcare team and are responsible for communicating the condition of their patients (and any change in a patient’s condition) to Registered Nurses and Doctors.


Are there other career opportunities for Practical Nurses?
Some may choose to use a career as a Practical Nurse as an entryway into the healthcare and/or nursing field. It would not be uncommon for a Practical Nurse to work in the field to gain experience and later go back to school to further their education and/or strengthen their credentials.



Becoming a Practical Nurse

How might I determine if this is a good career choice for me?
In choosing any career, it’s important that someone look at a variety of factors, some of which include:

  • Can I see myself doing the work that this position/occupation performs and am I going to be happy performing those tasks in that type of work setting?
  • Do I have the skills/traits/characteristics that one may need to be successful in a position like this?
  • How is the employment outlook/trends for this position?


I have no background in healthcare or experience in nursing – can I really do this?
You can, however, admission to the Practical Nurse program at Dorsey Schools is competitive and many of our Practical Nurse students have prior experience working in healthcare prior to starting their training in the Practical Nurse program.


What type of training is needed?
Practical Nurses typically attend a post-secondary school or institution to obtain training. The vast majority of these programs lead to a certificate or a diploma and typically take one year to complete. Some programs may take longer to complete, but that is rare. Some states may have specific requirements in place for Practical Nurses as well. It’s also important to note that since Practical Nurses work very closely with patients in the actual occupational setting, it can be advantageous to a student to choose a program that has a strong hands-on component so they can “learn by doing.”


How long do I have to go to school?
The vast majority of Practical Nurse programs can be completed in a year. In choosing a program, it’s important for someone to evaluate the training that is included so they can ensure they are receiving the training they need (and want) prior to entering the field as a Practical Nurse.


What are important characteristics for Practical Nurses to have?
While this isn’t a full list of important characteristics, Practical Nurses should have good interpersonal skills, speaking skills, patience, compassion, physical stamina, and be detail-oriented. If you’re lacking in one or more of these areas, it doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t be a good Practical Nurse, and it may be an area you wish to focus on as part of your training.


Is Certification/Licensure required to obtain employment as a Practical Nurse?
Yes, licensure is required in the State of Michigan to obtain employment as a Licensed Practical Nurse. It’s always important to check with the State in which you want to work to see if they have additional specific requirements for Practical Nurses in order to obtain employment.



The Dorsey Schools Practical Nurse program

What will be covered in the program?
The Dorsey Schools 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 Schools in addition to clinical training that will take place as part of the program. Students enrolled in the Practical Nurse program will be exposed to a variety of topics including (but not limited to):

  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • The role of the LPN, Maslow’s Hierarchy, Professional Standards, and Ethical and Legal Considerations
  • Health Assessment
  • Performing Safe Nursing Interventions
  • Pharmacology
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • Medical/Surgical Nursing
  • Maternal/Newborn Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Mental Health Concepts
  • Professionalism in Nursing
  • And more…!


Is your program hands-on?
Yes! Students will have opportunities to practice the skills they are learning in both the labs on campus at Dorsey Schools as well as during their clinical training.


What is the clinical training and why is it important?
The clinical training provides students with real-life situations where they will have opportunities to apply classroom theory to practice. Practical Nurse students will be placed in a variety of clinical settings, providing them with a range of experiences with diverse populations, organizations, and agencies.


How long is the program?
The Dorsey Schools Practical Nurse program is designed to be completed in one year.


Who are the instructors?
Our instructors are caring individuals that possess experience and expertise in their respective field. Our instructors meet or exceed State of Michigan and accreditation criteria, guidelines, and qualifications. It’s not uncommon for students of Dorsey Schools to see their instructors as their coach and mentor throughout their studies.


Why should I choose Dorsey Schools over another school?
Students choose Dorsey Schools over other Career Training Schools for a variety of reasons. You can learn more by visiting The Dorsey Difference page.


Which Dorsey Schools campuses offer the Practical Nurse program?
The Practical Nurse program is offered at the following Dorsey Schools campus locations:


How do I enroll?
If you’re interested in enrolling in the Practical Nurse program at Dorsey Schools, 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.


Does your program include licensure?
While actual licensure is not included in the curriculum of the Dorsey Schools Practical Nurse program, graduates may go on to challenge the NCLEX-PN® exam.


Will your program prepare me for licensure?
The Dorsey Schools Practical Nurse program is designed to prepare students to go on to challenge the NCLEX-PN® exam.


Is your school accredited?
Yes, you can read more by visiting our Accreditation page.


What is the tuition and fees for the program?
The current tuition and fees for the Dorsey Schools Practical Nurse program can be accessed by clicking here.


Is Financial Aid available?
Financial Aid is available to those who qualify. For additional information on Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance, we would encourage you to visit our Financial Aid Information page.


Can you help me find a job after graduation?
Dorsey Schools offers Career Services assistance to all program completers, however, job placement is not guaranteed by Dorsey Schools. You can learn more about the assistance our Career Services team offers by visiting our Career Services for Students and Graduates page.



Additional Information

For your reference, we’ve included the links below of several very helpful websites where you can learn more about Practical Nurses, info pertaining to jobs as a Practical Nurse, the work Practical Nurses do, etc.:

a Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, on the Internet at (visited November 25, 2017).

b   Michigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Long-Term Occupational Employment Projections (2014-2024) Michigan Statewide, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses (SOC Code: 29-2061), (visited July 11, 2016).

Michigan Occupational Wage Information:

O*Net Online:

Dorsey Schools Gainful Employment Disclosures for the Practical Nurse program: For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please click here.