The Role of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, have one of the most versatile roles in modern medicine. These skilled allied health clinicians are extremely versatile, and are vital to patient care in a wide array of medical facilities. Their specific duties/role will depend on the type of healthcare setting they work in, especially if they are a travel LPN.
Similarly to RNs (registered nurses), LPNs are in high demand, especially in elder care, assisted living, and specialty care facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 60,000 job openings for LPNs each year, and the demand for LPNs is predicted to rise by 6% by 2031. If you’re an LPN or are interested in becoming an LPN, there’s no better time to review your job options, (permanent vs travel), and think about your role in the healthcare field.
What Do LPNs Do?
As an LPN, you are very frequently a patient’s primary point of contact. LPNs are often responsible for the immediate care needs of a patient including but not limited to changing bandages and dressings, catheterization, and other similar tasks. Patient comfort, such as feeding, bathing, and dressing, is also a regular concern for LPNs. Other duties include taking detailed records on patient health and provide continuous monitoring through the updating of charts, checking blood pressure, taking temperatures, and providing other methods of monitoring patient vitals.
One other important role of an LPNs is to provider information and education to patients and their relatives or friends. LPNs should have empathy, great communication, patience, and understanding as they frequently need to discuss the care being provided, and may need to help patients and families understand future care plans. They must be willing to report concerns to senior medical staff when necessary to advocate for their patients.
LPNs vs RNs: What’s the Difference?
While LPNs and RNs (registered nurses) are both nurses, RNs have a longer educational path and are typically the direct supervisors for LPNs. RNs are generally in charge of more complex duties, such as administering medication and treatments, drawing blood, and inserting IVs. RNs also perform diagnostic tests and operate more advanced medical equipment.
Where Do LPNs Work?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and residential care facilities employ 35% of LPNs.
|Type of Facility||Percentage of LPNs Employed||Mean Salary|
|Nursing Facilities and Residential Care||35%||$51,200|
|Hospitals (state, local, and private combined)||15%||$45,550|
|Home Healthcare Services||14%||$51,580|
|Government Employment (County boards of health, etc.)||7%||$51,100|
LPNs vs Travel Nurse Salaries
Travel nurses can work at schools, hospitals, urgent cares, clinics, IHS facilities, and a multitude of other types of medical facilities. Like LPNs, specialty nurses help fill in gaps in coverage and providing skilled care where it is most needed.
Travel nurses can expect to make a higher salary than a typical LPN. The average salary for a travel RN is $64,676; the annual starting salary for an LPN is $45,930 and the average mean salary for an LPN at a nursing facility is $51,200.
Both travel LPNs and travel RNs are in high demand. If you are an LPN or RN who enjoys traveling and wants to help provide critical care coverage to facilities in the U.S., the travel like may be for you!