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LPN: Job Outlook and Career Profile

Projected employment growth and increasing salaries point to the importance of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to the medical community. Other medical professionals depend on LPNs for providing medical reports and maintaining the effectiveness of the medical facility.

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Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for LPNs and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) is expected to increase by 22% from 2010-2020. This increase was due to an aging workforce with a growing number of workers entering retirement.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, in May 2012, the median annual salary for a LPN or LVN was $41,540. The 10th percentile earned an annual wage of $30,970, and the 90th percentile earned an annual wage of $57,360 (www.bls.gov).

Career Profile

LPNs, also referred to as licensed vocational nurses, are an important member of the medical team who provide basic care for patients in hospitals. Basic care includes duties such as taking vital statistics, helping patients with personal hygiene and eating, bedside treatment, and keeping records. A LPN may also clean and bandage wounds, give injections, administer enemas and provide alcohol rubs. LPNs may also be responsible for gathering medical history information from patients and completing insurance forms, referrals and other records.

The job duties of a LPN aren't limited to direct involvement with patients. They may work in laboratories, perform routine tests and make sure equipment is clean and ready for use.

While many LPNs work in hospital settings, others work in nursing homes, hospice services and physician's offices. They can find employment in both large cities and rural areas. LPNs work under the supervision of doctors, registered nurses and healthcare coordinators. Some LPNs may hold leadership positions and have other LPNs and nursing aides working under them.

Skills

LPNs must have good interpersonal skills, especially in communication because they communicate vital information to patients, patient's family members and other medical staff. According to O*Net Online, LPNs also need to be skilled at time management, critical thinking and decision making (www.onetonline.org).

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