For some nurses, becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is the first step in their career. For others, it is a rewarding career in itself and they appreciate the challenges and sense of purpose that goes along with caring for people in need. Depending on the work setting, employer, and your own desire as an LPN, you can enjoy autonomy, skills development, career advancement, and so much more.
What does an LPN do?
Although the responsibilities or scope of practice can vary from state to state (each state’s board of nursing regulates what each nursing license level can and cannot do) in general, LPNs in all states perform nursing care such as:
- Medication administration
- Monitoring for changes in condition
- Vital sign checks
- Wound care and dressing changes
- Specimen collection
- Urinary catheter insertion and care
- Tracheostomy and ventilator management
- Ostomy site care and maintenance Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Finger stick blood sugar testing
- Proper charting and documentation of nursing care
Advance your skills with specialized LPN certifications
Specialized LPN certifications demonstrate that you have specific expertise in a certain area. Earning one or more can open doors to opportunities that you may not have without them. Earning a specialized LPN certification has many benefits for your career because it:
- Gives you more earning potential
- Makes you more marketable to prospective employers
- Allows you to work in the health care niche you enjoy most
Types of LPN certifications
One of the most popular types of certificate programs for LPNs, IV certification allows you to administer IV therapy.
Tracheostomy and ventilator care
If you wish to work with patients with a tracheostomy and ventilator, you’ll need this special certification to perform this type of complex care.
An extremely popular certification among LPNs who work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home care, the wound care certification allows you to participate in the cleaning and treatment of all types of wounds.
Pediatric advanced life support
Offered through a variety of organizations affiliated with the American Heart Association, the pediatric advanced life support certification enables you to work in pediatric care.
Advanced cardiac life support
An advanced cardiac life support certification program will train you how to respond in cases of cardiac arrest and other heart-related emergencies.
Certified hemodialysis nurse
CHN-certified practical nurses are able to work in nephrology care (eg, kidney treatment) in many different health care settings.
One of several common certifications that many LPNs pursue, the pharmacology certification teaches the principles of pharmacology and medication administration, drug classifications, medication assessment, procedures for administration, dosage calculations of medications, and intravenous fluid rates.
One of the most popular, a gerontology certification allows an LPN to perform a range of responsibilities in any setting that specializes in caring for elderly patients.
To become a specialist who works with individuals who have either an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), it is usually necessary for an LPN to earn this certificate. This certificate program can prepare you to work in home care and long-term care facilities serving patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
With the explosion in the number of aging Americans being served at home and in health care facilities across the country, the long-term care certification has become particularly useful for many LPNs.
What is the difference between an LPN and an RN?
Registered nurses have a broader scope of practice and require considerably more education to earn licensure.
Education for an RN ranges in length from two years for an associate degree in nursing from a community college (ADN) to four years for a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN).
Education for an LPN can be completed at a vocational school or junior college. Programs are usually about one year in length and require successful completion of both classroom and clinical hours.
Scope of practice
Registered nurses can work anywhere there is a need for nurses, while LPNs are sometimes limited in their choice of health care settings. Many hospitals—especially those that have or are seeking Magnet status (the highest credential for nursing facilities)—focus on hiring RNs because of their advanced education and skill level as compared to LPNs.
Job outlook for LPNs
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for LPNs is expected to grow six percent from 2021 to 2031, making it a stable and reliable career choice.
Much of the growth is attributed to two factors:
- The need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire
- An increase in the aging population needing more health care services.
Home health care for career satisfaction and advancement
While LPNs may not have opportunities in as many settings as RNs do, they do have a variety of great options, with home health care nursing being one of the best career choices.
As a home care LPN, you can discover the rewards of varied, one-on-one caregiving. Uninterrupted time to focus on one client at a time means that you can develop close, personal relationships and use the full range of your skills and knowledge to care for that individual holistically. Working with the same client and their family over an extended period of time allows you to be part of their progress and successes.
With an increased focus on keeping people out of the hospital and safe at home, in-home nursing is a particularly robust career growth industry.
Because demand for home health care service is high and projected to keep growing, in-home nursing is a particularly robust career growth industry with plenty of hours/shifts and varied client cases to choose from. Career advancement paths are abundant, particularly at large and established organizations like BAYADA, where LPNs can achieve leadership roles if they choose.
Loving the LPN Life
To get a better picture of the LPN life, let us introduce you to a few BAYADA LPNs who love what they do. Some are recent graduates who got their start through our Nurse Residency Program. Many switched to home health care from other work settings, and some have been LPNs for decades!
What do they love most about being a BAYADA LPN?
"Feeling like part of the family" — Clementina Okojie, LPN
“I love adult nursing because you learn so much about the world from your clients,” Clementina says. “My client Eric is like family. My boys adore Eric. They respect him. If my sons ever needed someone to talk to, after mom, it would be Eric.” Clementina adds, “I am privileged to be able to help Eric. He gives me a different perspective and motivates and inspires me as much as I help him.”
Read more about Clementina.
"Career advancement opportunities & support" — Chablis Thompson, LPN
“The BAYADA Nurse Residency Program was an amazing opportunity to learn and practice the real-life nursing skills you need to care for someone at home. In that time, I learned so much. Now I’m loving the LPN life and it makes me happy to be doing meaningful, interesting work as a BAYADA LPN. Next year, I want to apply to BAYADA for a Presidential Scholarship to help me go back to school for my RN.”
Read more about Chablis.
"Continued education & ongoing training" — Cassandra Freeman, LPN and Chuck Costello, LPN
“When you’re working one-on-one with a client, you are everything to them, and it feels great to be able to help someone with whatever they need,” Chuck says. “Once I got to BAYADA, I knew this was the place for me. I didn’t get to see and do this kind of nursing before. Now I know so much more as a nurse, it’s incredible. I love the challenge and variety of adult home nursing.”
Cassandra agrees, “That’s a big thing I love about my job. We’re always keeping our skills current and learning the latest. Health care is changing all the time, and it never gets boring. BAYADA keeps us on our toes with continuing education and training, in-services, annual skills assessments, and certifications.”
Read more about Cassandra and Chuck.
"Making a difference at work" — Liz Gouldey, LPN
Liz Gouldey, LPN could be the poster child for how nurses make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Watch this short video to see for yourself why home care nursing is Liz’s passion and her purpose.
Watch a day in the life of Liz, our LPN Hero who brings joy, love, and laughter into the home of a family living with ALS.
"A dream fulfilled" — Germain Harper, LPN
Germain had his eye on BAYADA Home Health Care since he was in high school, inspired by his mom’s experiences as a BAYADA Nurse. “My mom would come home from work and tell me stories about her clients and coworkers. You could tell how rewarding it was for her.” After lots of twists in turns in his life, Germain finally achieved his goal of being a BAYADA Nurse and the rewards he felt by helping his young client Kyle recover from a traumatic brain injury
Read more about Germain.
Chart your own path as an LPN at BAYADA
From bedside care to nurse leadership, you can chart your own career path—with training, support, and scholarships to help you get there. Visit jobs.bayada.com to apply!