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Licensed Practical Nurse Specialties

Updated on August 16, 2010

Why is LPN popular?

What attracts a lot of people to practical nursing is the brief study period required compared to other nursing positions. The profession requires only a year or two of medical study. However, due to the enormous amount of information that has to be crammed into a very small time frame, LPN training programs can be one of the most intense in the nursing industry. The training program fees may vary but most are reasonable; there are even online nursing programs that can provide certification for as low as $2,000. After this period, graduates can already get hired in wellness centers, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes or similar medical settings.

Duties and Capabilities of an LPN

An LPN will often act as a doctor's aid, providing immediate care, monitoring medication, and helping to prepare patients for surgery or an examination by a physician.

LPN Program

LPN Program
LPN Program

LPN Specialties

Once an LPN gains certification, he has two options for career advancement: he can either pursue higher studies and become an RN or a licensed doctor, or choose to become specialized at a certain medical field, such as dentistry or obstetrics. Regardless of the specialization chosen, however, the LPN can more or less expect to work in the following settings:

1. HOSPITAL NURSE- This often serves as the starting point for an LPN, the crossroads to everywhere. A few years of working as a hospital nurse more than prepares an LPN for the next step in his career. However, it is not uncommon for nurses to decide and stay in a hospital setting. At any rate, this is the best setting to get valuable hands-on nursing experience. It's a jack-of-all-trades position. The LPN does everything from providing medication to an elderly patient to assisting in the emergency room. The work may be demanding-but rewarding.

2. TRAVEL NURSE- Hospitals, hotels, medical clinics, etc. may have several branches in different places and need mobile nurses who could go from place to place as needed, or can perform their duties while travelling. Cruise ships, which travel for several days at a time, require nurses on board who could take care of their guests' medical needs. Travel nurses usually take on assignments where they have to be able to adapt to changing conditions and environments. As they will be required to work at different facilities in different places, they need to be able to quickly adapt to the requirements of each one. These assignments are usually short-term, but the compensation is substantially bigger than that of a regular nurse. Mobile LPNs are usually given additional benefits such as housing within the assignment period, travel allowances, and extra pay when overtime is rendered.

3. HOME CARE NURSE- A nurse can decide to work directly for a client and attend to the medical needs of his family. Home care LPN's may be hired for short-term work such as house visits, or get long-term work as a caretaker of an elderly, disabled or injured patient. With the increasing number of elderly patients, Home Care nurses are in demand not only in the US but in other countries. Home care nurses should be confident, quick on their feet and able to make important medical decisions on their own. Being able to work without supervision is a must.

4. OFFICE NURSE- This involves working in a non-hospital setting, such as a private office, health spa, or facial surgery centers. In most cases, the nurse attends to equal amounts of medical work and administrative paperwork. And since this is in a more traditional, 8-to-5 office setting, night shifts are uncommon and the job has a lower stress level.

5. MILITARY NURSE- The military is a demanding client that requires highly skilled nurses. In a nutshell, a military nurse should be able to tie a bandage and go to war. Additional training, a bachelor's degree even, may be required of those who want to pursue a military nursing job. If the LPN receives additional training while in active duty, the military usually provides reimbursements for tuition fees.

6. NURSING CARE FACILITIES NURSE- Nursing homes and settings that require palliative care offer slower-paced environments. The jobs are very similar to that in the hospital setting; the difference lies in the patients. Whereas hospitals aim to help patients recover, nursing home patients stay longer and their recovery is not always expected. Nurses who choose this field should have lots of patience, and be able to face death and dying with emotional stoicism.

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