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Career profile Practical Nurse

Also known as Charge Nurse; Clinic Licensed Practical Nurse (CLINIC LPN); Clinic Nurse; Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); Licensed Practical Nurse, Clinic Nurse (LPN, Clinic Nurse); Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN); Office Nurse; Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurse (PEDIATRIC LPN); Private Duty Nurse; Triage Licensed Practical Nurse (TRIAGE LPN)

Practical Nurse

Also known as Charge Nurse; Clinic Licensed Practical Nurse (CLINIC LPN); Clinic Nurse; Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); Licensed Practical Nurse, Clinic Nurse (LPN, Clinic Nurse); Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN); Office Nurse; Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurse (PEDIATRIC LPN); Private Duty Nurse; Triage Licensed Practical Nurse (TRIAGE LPN)

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$35,570 - $65,520 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Service Orientation
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Dentistry
Core tasks
  • Observe patients, charting and reporting changes in patients' conditions, such as adverse reactions to medication or treatment, and taking any necessary action.
  • Measure and record patients' vital signs, such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, or respiration.
  • Administer prescribed medications or start intravenous fluids, noting times and amounts on patients' charts.
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What does a Practical Nurse do?

Practical Nurses care for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions.

In addition, Practical Nurses

  • may work under the supervision of a registered nurse,
  • licensing required.

What kind of tasks does a Practical Nurse perform regularly?

Practical Nurses are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Observe patients, charting and reporting changes in patients' conditions, such as adverse reactions to medication or treatment, and taking any necessary action.
  • Measure and record patients' vital signs, such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, or respiration.
  • Administer prescribed medications or start intravenous fluids, noting times and amounts on patients' charts.
  • Provide basic patient care or treatments, such as taking temperatures or blood pressures, dressing wounds, treating bedsores, giving enemas or douches, rubbing with alcohol, massaging, or performing catheterizations.
  • Answer patients' calls and determine how to assist them.
  • Supervise nurses' aides or assistants.
  • Evaluate nursing intervention outcomes, conferring with other healthcare team members as necessary.
  • Work as part of a healthcare team to assess patient needs, plan and modify care, and implement interventions.
  • Assemble and use equipment, such as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, or oxygen suppliers.
  • Record food and fluid intake and output.
  • Collect samples, such as blood, urine, or sputum from patients, and perform routine laboratory tests on samples.
  • Prepare or examine food trays for conformance to prescribed diet.
  • Help patients with bathing, dressing, maintaining personal hygiene, moving in bed, or standing and walking.
  • Prepare patients for examinations, tests, or treatments and explain procedures.
  • Apply compresses, ice bags, or hot water bottles.

The above responsibilities are specific to Practical Nurses. More generally, Practical Nurses are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Practical Nurse salary?

The median salary for a Practical Nurse is $48,820, and the average salary is $50,090. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Practical Nurse salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Practical Nurses earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Practical Nurses earn less than $35,570 per year, 25% earn less than $42,060, 75% earn less than $57,860, and 90% earn less than $65,520.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Practical Nurses is expected to change by 9.3%, and there should be roughly 60,700 open positions for Practical Nurses every year.

Median annual salary
$48,820
Typical salary range
$35,570 - $65,520
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
9.3%

What personality traits are common among Practical Nurses?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Practical Nurse are usually higher in their Social and Realistic interests.

Practical Nurses typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Practical Nurses typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Practical Nurse tend to value Relationships, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Practical Nurses very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Practical Nurses strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Practical Nurses strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Practical Nurses must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, concern for others, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Practical Nurses, ranked by importance:

Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Practical Nurses need?

Practical Nurses often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Practical Nurses usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Practical Nurses

  • 1.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 22.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 53.7% completed some college coursework
  • 17.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Practical Nurses

Practical Nurses may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, psychology, or medicine and dentistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Practical Nurses might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Practical Nurses

Practical Nurses must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Practical Nurses need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Practical Nurses, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Practical Nurses

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Practical Nurses frequently use skills like service orientation, social perceptiveness, and coordination to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Practical Nurses, ranked by their relative importance.

Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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