How Fast Can You Become an LPN?

Training for a healthcare career takes time. But if you need a fast track to a career without compromising your dreams, why not become a licensed practical nurse? LPNs are in demand, and it’s a great way to launch a nursing career. Start today and you’ll graduate in half the time it takes to become an RN.

What Does an LPN Do?

Like RNs, LPNs are licensed professional caregivers, but their role is somewhat different. Practical nurses focus on the hands-on tasks that support patient health and community wellness. LPNs responsibilities include:

Helping Patients with Activities of Daily Living

Ill patients have everyday needs. They need to eat, shower and dress. But these tasks are especially challenging when people are weak or debilitated. LPNs help by assisting with these activities while observing for changes in the patient’s condition.

Taking Vital Signs

LPNs take vital signs. Straightforward but essential tasks, such as monitoring temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiratory rate, tell doctors how patients are responding to treatment.

Giving Medications

Administering medications is a large part of a practical nurse’s job. You’ll give injections, monitor intravenous treatments and help patients take oral medications safely.

Recording Intake and Output

Patients have higher fluid and calorie needs when they’re sick. And some have food and liquid restrictions because of disease. LPNs record daily intake and output so doctors know if patients are eating enough or retaining fluid.

Perform Wound Care

LPNs manage a wide range of wound care from changing post-op dressings to treating diabetic ulcers. They monitor for infection, circulation and signs of healing.

Protecting Skin Integrity

Impaired mobility is a risk factor for pressure ulcers. Patients confined to a bed or wheelchair need adaptive equipment and frequent repositioning to avoid skin damage. LPNs assist with mobility and the placement of pressure-relieving devices.

Collect Laboratory Specimens

LPNs collect blood, stool, urine and sputum samples for laboratory analysis using a clean or sterile technique.

Inserting Urinary Catheters

Urinary catheters release urine from the bladder when the urethra is obstructed. Obstructions can be caused by infectious, musculoskeletal, and neurological conditions.

Catheters are also placed to control elimination during and after surgery. This is sterile procedure, and LPNS can insert and monitor nearly all types of internal or external urinary catheters.

Assisting with Therapeutic Exercises

Physical and occupational therapists design exercise plans for patients to follow after an illness or surgery. LPNs help by assisting with mobility and pain control. They also perform range of motion exercises for immobile patients, maintaining their muscle and joint flexibility.

Managing Patient Comfort

Pain prevents sick patients from getting better. When they’re uncomfortable, they can’t sleep or exercise to build stamina.

LPNs keep patients moving by screening and observing for pain symptoms, offering analgesics when needed to relieve symptoms.

Handling Medical Equipment

Many patients require life-sustaining medical equipment to function. From feeding tubes to oxygen concentrators, practical nurses assess the fit and safety of equipment and perform or request maintenance as needed.

Offer Social Support

Re-hospitalizations are common among patients without support at home. Making meals, paying bills, going to the pharmacy and finding transportation to medical appointments can be daunting when you’re ill.

Without help, many people who could remain independent end up in nursing facilities. LPNs help identify social, health and home safety needs so that proper services can be arranged.

Educating Patients and Families

Patients and their families need education to manage their health conditions. The difference between success and failure comes down to what they do and don’t know.

Information is power and LPNs have it. Step by step, they help people learn about illnesses, medications, treatments, and self-care techniques.

Documenting Care

Continuity of care is a shared burden among all healthcare providers. Each professional involved in a case takes careful notes so that others can follow the patient’s progress.

As a nurse, you’ll record data and observations about patients throughout your shift, carefully documenting what you’ve seen and how you responded to it.

How Fast Can You Become an LPN?

The most logical way to become an LPN is to enroll in a vocational school nursing program. Full-time day students graduate in 11 months, and even part-timers can complete the program in 14 months by attending evenings and weekends. It’s a lifestyle-friendly option for adults who want to train for a new career but still have to work to make ends meet.

How Long Does It Take to Become an RN?

It takes two to four years in college to become an RN. You can do it with an associate degree, but most employers prefer applicants with a bachelors. Waiting lists for programs can be long, however, so many students take the prerequisite courses the year before they’re accepted. In some parts of the country, it can take three years to get a two-year degree.

What Do You Learn During an LPN Program?

LPN programs cover the skills you need to pass your license exam and get an entry-level position in a hospital, nursing facility, doctor’s office, or private home. Subjects include:

The Foundations of Practical Nursing

New students being with a deep dive into the world of practical nursing. They learn about the science of nursing, its history, evolution and modern trends.

A foundational course upon which further learning relies, students are introduced to the nursing process. Additional topics include self-care, organization, time management and study skills.

Anatomy and Physiology

How the body is made and how it works are fundamental to nursing practice. This course covers body systems, chemistry, conditions and treatments.

Pharmacology and Dosage Calculations

Pharmacology courses explore the world of therapeutic drugs. You’ll learn about weights and measures, metric conversions and accepted abbreviations. Topics include patient rights, medication safety, drug labeling, sliding insulin scales, conditional medication dosages and how to take doctor’s orders. You’ll practice giving injections and starting IV lines.

Human Growth and Development

In this course, students investigate how humans grow and develop. You’ll learn how to identify and meet the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs of all patients from infants to seniors.

Adult Health Nursing

Adult nursing is a comprehensive course covering interventions for adults. You’ll tackle important concepts, such as health assessments, therapeutic communication, sensory perception, ergonomics, infection control, sexuality, aging, and culturally competent care.

Hands-on topics include hygiene, skin integrity, oral care, elimination, mobility, and pain management. Graduates will be well-prepared to work with complex patients in acute care settings.

Family and Pediatric Nursing

Practical nurses play an important role in the lives of childbearing families. This course covers what you need to know about the physical, emotional, and social needs of children and their parents.

Topics include family planning, pregnancy, labor and delivery, and preventive healthcare. You’ll also discuss nutrition and safety including child abuse and advocacy.

Mental Health Nursing

This course provides insight into the care and treatment of mental illness. You’ll explore psychology, group dynamics, psychiatric disorders and age-related behavioral changes, such as dementia symptoms. Other topics include addiction models, chemical dependency and treatment models.

Public Health

Public health nurses care for entire communities. This course focuses on the many factors that influence health in our towns and cities. Students learn about wellness trends, demographic-based risk factors and how to implement public health interventions in diverse communities.

Medical Law and Ethics

Healthcare is a highly regulated and ethically complicated field. Nurses should be prepared to navigate regulations and emotional dilemmas. In this lively class, peers will discuss medical law and what-if ethical scenarios. Talking points include patient’s rights, powers-of-attorney, nursing negligence, documentation guidelines and liability protection.

Transitioning to Nursing Practice

Going from the classroom to the field is a big step. Nurses need more than knowledge, they need interpersonal, critical thinking and self-care skills. Topics include interpersonal communication, workplace relationships, professional boundaries, career goals and leadership skills.

Final Thoughts

There’s no right or wrong way to become a nurse, but some ways are faster and more flexible than others. Don’t let time stand in the way of your ambitions. A rewarding new career is less than a year away.

Did learning about how to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on Long Island interest you? Ready for an exciting new career in the healthcare field? The Practical Nursing certificate program provides the graduate with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to function as a licensed practical nurse or LPN. Part of the practical nurse training curriculum is devoted to theory and the rest to hands-on laboratory skills practice and off-site clinical externship rotations. These rotations include work at long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and childbearing and pediatric outpatient settings.

Upon successful completion of NCLEX-PN, the National Council Licensure Examination, which is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States, the licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed physician in a variety of health care settings.

Contact us today to find out more on how to become an LPN on Long Island.