A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is charged with helping physicians and registered nurses in the provision of basic patient care. They have highly specific duties and the requirements towards becoming an LPN have been set by Georgia’s State Board of Nursing. It is a highly popular career choice, particularly for those who want to get a taste for the field of nursing.
About Licensed Practical Nursing
In order to become a licensed practical nurse, you must first complete high school or its equivalent. Next, you will have to choose a training program that has been approved by the Georgie State Board of Nursing. It is likely that the majority of community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools in your area will offer the courses, which usually take a year to complete. During the course, you will take part in both theoretical course work and practical lab work and some of the classes you will take include English composition, microbiology, pharmacology, human anatomy, drug calculations, developmental psychology and medical surgical nursing.
The program you complete must be fully accredited as you must take the NCLEX-PN examination in
order to become licensed. This is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The examination has four parts and looks at safe environments, physiological integrity, health promotion and psychosocial integrity. The fee for the NCLEX-PN in Georgia current stands at $85 and you must ensure your school sends in the transcript of your records. Before you can pass the exam, however, you must also obtain a CPR card.
In Georgia, the quickest way to become a nurse is to take part in an LPN program. This is because it only takes a year to complete it. However, you will have far better job prospects if you study on towards your bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse (RN). The demand for RNs is far higher and more and more medical institutions now require a BSN at the very least. However, the LPN degree is a great option for those who want to get a feel of the field of nursing, as it also allows them to take part in a bridging program at a later date, which offers them an accelerated route towards becoming an RN.
In Georgia, LPN licenses are renewed every 24 months. However, there are no continuing education requirements to be completed. This makes the regulations very different from those in other states.
What Jobs Does This Lead To?
As an LPN, you will be managed by an RN or a physician. Your role will be to prepare patients for health examinations. Additionally, you will dress wounds, give alcohol runs and take a patient’s vital signs. Furthermore, feeding patients, changing their clothes and their bedding and monitoring them will all be part of the scope of your practice. Depending on the setting in which you work, you may also have to prepare and perform tests, as well as have to educate patients and their loved ones on healthy living practices. As you continue to work and become more experienced, you may start supervising new LPNs. However, you will never be able to treat or diagnose any condition without receiving the approval of an RN of physician first.
As an LPN, there are various settings in which you could get to work. These include private offices, hospitals, private residences, nursing care facilities and so on. However, you could also work in medical administration or in a laboratory. Indeed, any location where nurses or physicians work may be in need of an LPN, as your role will be to alleviate their workload.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median salary for LPNs in nursing facilities was $42,320 per year in 2009. The salary was slightly lower at $42,300 per year for those in home health care. In Georgia, however, salaries are well below the national average, with the median annual wage standing at $35,860. Of course, salary is but one consideration to make. After all, those who have the most experience and those who work in geriatrics will enjoy better salaries and have better additional benefits as well.
In Georgia, home health careers are generally the best paid for LPNs. Additionally, the greatest growth is expected in long-term care. Geriatric health certifications are in high demand. Studies have shown, however, that salaries may be lower in family offices, but job satisfaction is much higher.
Job Outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job opportunities for LPNs have an expected growth of 21% by 2018. This is mainly due to the aging population both in terms of the workforce who are approaching retirement age, and the population in general who will require more care.
In Georgia, some 28% of all nursing professionals are LPNs. The comfort score is 74, which looks at the comparison between salary and the cost of living. Although this is a good comfort score, and above many national averages, it is much lower than that of an RN, who has a 136 comfort score. Indeed, the comfort score for the RN in Georgia is the second highest in the country. This is why it is always advisable to obtain further education and become an RN. The greatest opportunities for jobs and educational options in Georgia are Atlanta and Augusta.