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If you'd like to get your foot in the door in the healthcare field, becoming a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, is an excellent first step. A large percentage of registered nurses start out as LPNs, and many healthcare administrators begin their careers as licensed practical nurses as well.
Becoming an LPN is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished in about two years. It's a great way to test the waters to see whether nursing is a good fit for you.
The best LPNs share a handful of traits. You're more likely to succeed in this field if you:
Have excellent communication skills
Enjoy working with patients
Are empathetic and patient
Have superior interpersonal skills
Have excellent multitasking and problem-solving skills
Are strong, flexible and have a lot of endurance
Enroll in an LPN Program
Enroll in an LPN program to prepare yourself for the NCLEX-PN, or National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. LPNs in all states must become licensed by passing this exam, which is conducted by state nursing boards. The right LPN program will prepare you to successfully pass this crucial exam.
The typical LPN program involves about a year of study and training. Universities, community colleges and private medical and educational institutions typically offer the necessary courses, which include several practical nursing courses and pharmacology courses. These days, most programs are conducted partially online and partially in classrooms, so they are perfect for busy, working adults.
Explore your options carefully before selecting an LPN program. Choose one that is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC). Programs that have this accreditation tend to produce graduates who go on to pass the licensing exam.
Most LPN programs have the following requirements for enrollment:
You must be at least 18 years old
You must have a high school diploma or equivalent
Letters of recommendation are sometimes required
You usually need to have a high school grade point average of 2.0 or higher