Explore career information by location
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.
Licensed practical nurses have many responsibilities. These include:
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.
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.
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.