Licensed practical nurse

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What does a Licensed Practical Nurse do?

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works as an assistant to and under the supervision of both doctors and registered nurses (RNs). LPNs may work in hospitals, doctors' offices, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes.

Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses have many responsibilities. These include:

  • Measuring vital signs and documenting them in patients' records
  • Communicating with other health professionals regarding patients' records
  • Administering medication and start IVs and catheters
  • Assisting doctors and nurses with patient care, including during procedures and exams
  • Helping patients with self-care

How much does a Licensed Practical Nurse make in the United States?

Average base salary
87.4k salaries reported, updated at Jul 07, 2020
per hour
The average salary for a licensed practical nurse is $25.74 per hour in the United States and $7,750 overtime per year.
Additional compensation
per year
Most common benefits
  • Referral program
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • License reimbursement
  • 401(k)
  • Paid time off
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Where can a Licensed Practical Nurse earn more?

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Frequently asked questions
Common questions about being a Licensed Practical Nurse

How are LPNs different from certified nursing assistants (CNAs)?

LPNs are qualified to do everything a CNA can do, including taking vital signs, performing CPR, assisting patients with daily self-care activities such as bathing. CNAs, however, cannot take responsibility for administering medication or assisting in surgery. Licensed practical nurses are able to take a more extensive role in patient care.

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Is it easy to move from a licensed practical nurse position to a registered nurse position?

It will require additional coursework to become a registered nurse, but you can find many programs that are designed specifically for licensed practical nurses who want to advance to registered nurse positions. Those programs will take your previous education and job experience into consideration and are unlikely to take as long as traditional bachelor's programs.

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What is the typical length of an LPN shift?

While the shift length for an LPN will vary depending on their employer and setting, LPNs typically work 8, 10 or 12-hour shifts. An LPN that works 8-hour shifts will work 5 or more days per week, while an LPN that works 12-hour shifts may only work 3 days per week.

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Is there a need for licensed practical nurses in the armed forces?

What other unusual places might a licensed practical nurse work?