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Today more than ever, we can agree how much of a great choice a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) career is not only for those in the practicing arena but for aspirants, as in students. Where would we be as the world today without these great people… kudos for sure to this integral part of any medical team.
If you are an aspiring LPN but do not thoroughly understand what you are getting yourself into… I’ll give you an insight today. As an LPN, you will be working with other medical professionals such as physicians, mid-level practitioners, etc., as an assistant as they perform crucial medical procedures…these range from basic nursing care to educating patients on their diagnosis.
How Hard Can it Get at an LPN School?
Some of the questions you will find most nursing students asking before joining any LPN school include…Is nursing school hard?…am I going to be fully engrossed in studying … will I be stressing out the whole year? … How hard are clinical rotations?
LPN school is a challenging undertaking for aspiring nurses, but completing your program can be much easier with good study habits and a healthy work ethic. Keep reading for a few tips that can help you finish your program successfully.
How Do I Go About Joining an LPN School?
But nursing isn’t a pie-in-the-sky, fantasy, feel-good job. A nurse, regardless of an RN or LPN, is a hardworking, dedicated professional passionate about their patients.
That’s no accident—the training and education needed to become a nurse reflect the level of professionalism and skill you see.
The nursing school consists of many different deadlines and exams to keep straight for each course!
You must juggle through several units before you can finally wear the crown title of a Licensed Practical Nurse. Each and every aspiring LPN must juggle through:
Large and small exams
Skills check off
Very large reading assignments
Learning how to take nursing school exams (the dreaded “select all that apply” questions and multiple-choice questions with all right answers, but you have to select the most correct answer)
Learning about nursing research and understanding evidence-based practice
Learning how to write in APA format
Learning medical terminology all while trying to understand the flow and culture of various health care facilities
Clearly, there is a lot to try and keep straight. While this is easier for others, to the majority, it is a daunting endeavor that requires a lot of time management.
Those who have gone through the LPN schooling process can testify how crucial TIME MANAGEMENT is to all aspiring Licensed Practical Nurses, … both in class and during practice. As such, you must be very purposeful with your time – including your time off.
How Can I Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?
So, are you considering LPN as your first course, or do you want to pursue it as a second career but are still wondering…is LPN school hard? Coping with the demands of nursing school will look different for everyone… but that does not mean you cannot attain your dream career.
Your first nursing school challenge starts well before you learn your first concept…to secure a position in a nursing school. Although we are experiencing a high demand for nurses nationwide, unfortunately, schools can’t handle this influx of students.
Since it takes a lot of time, money, and resources to graduate practice-ready nurses …three things the majority of schools lack…then there is a dire need for rationing.
Other than the hardship of joining a nursing school to pursue a Licensed Practical Nurse, you must meet various requirements as an applicant.
Within the United States (US), becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) involves two steps: First, one must fulfill an education requirement; second, one must pass a licensing exam.
In order to become an LPN, you must complete a diploma in practical nursing through an approved educational program. This could be at a private college, vocational school, or community college.
The program will typically take only one year to complete and help you learn basic nursing skills through a combination of coursework and clinical experiences.
The Licensed Practical Nurse program coursework involves units such as Biology, Pharmacology, Nursing, Anatomy, Physiology, Medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics nursing, nutrition, first-aid and psychiatric. ·
Passing The Licensing Exam
Once your program gets approved and accredited by the Board of Nurses in your respective state, one qualifies to take the licensing exam upon completion.
The Practical Nurse licensing exam, applicable to applicants in the USA, is referred to as the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse) and is administered by state boards.
The basis of this is upon the perceived needs of clients. Some of the topics covered under the licensing exam include:
Health promotion and maintenance
A safe and effective care environment
LPN licenses require periodic renewal. The conventions vary from state to state and may include a continuing education requirement and a fee.
How Can I Increase My Chances of Joining an LPN School?
Considering the competitive nature of qualifying to join an LPN school, there is a dire need to align your particular situation and background to make you more attractive to some schools than others.
The good news is that there are several levels of nursing and hundreds of nursing schools and graduate nursing programs across the country, so if you don’t get accepted by one, try researching others.
Ultimately, your ability to get into LPN school trickles down to these factors:
A Good GPA
Having good grades and a higher-than-average GPA (grade point average) is one of the first requirements for getting accepted into nursing school. While the GPA requirements for one nursing school differ from one school to another, the minimum GPA to qualify you for an ADN program ranges from 2.0. to 2.8.
Note that the above are the bare minimum requirements for qualifying for the Associates Degree in Nursing program, so you should consider aiming for higher GPA points if you want to be competitive.
You, however, should not give up if your GPA is below the minimum average and you are seriously committed to the idea of becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, you can boost your chances of enrolling in nursing school by slightly increasing your GPA.
One solution would be to enroll in General Education classes at a local community college. You, however, must research in advance about these classes as they could even transfer to that LPN program you so desire as they are prerequisites.
But even if they don’t transfer, getting good grades raises your GPA a little bit, so your transcripts look more attractive to nursing schools.
Given the high level of competition when enrolling for an LPN program, the more prerequisites you have finished before applying to school, the better chance you have of getting accepted.
Prerequisites are classes that must be completed before enrollment into the given course to ensure that prospective students have a solid background in nursing-related courses.
As such, research early on the prerequisites that can get you ahead of the game and help you answer the dire question..is LPN school hard?.
As pointed out earlier, the specific requirements will vary from school to school, but some of the general classes you can expect to see include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, psychology, chemistry, sociology, statistics, etc.
Compared to other industries volunteering in the healthcare setting not only decorates and adds flavor to your application form and is a great opportunity for you to widen your experience and take a glimpse at the Licensed Practical Nursing profession.
It is a common phenomenon for several hospitals to have open volunteer opportunities. So, don’t shy away from conducting a little bit of research to discover a volunteering gig.
There are plenty of opportunities in different medical departments, such as working in the Emergency Room department, assisting with childcare, etc.
Volunteering shows commitment, and it proves to schools that your interest in nursing is a thought-through plan, a passion you nurtured and in which you’ve invested time and energy.
While there is no specific requirement for the amount of time you should volunteer, anywhere from one hundred hours to multiple hundreds gives you a competitive edge over other applicants.
Any experience you have in the healthcare field will help your application…if you don’t have experience yet, consider volunteering at a clinic or hospital.
What Are The Hardest Bits of an LPN Program and How Can I Cope?
WORKING AS A NURSE IS A PRIVILEGE as you get to help strangers hence earning you a vantage point that is unachieved by the majority. In addition, it makes you stronger and more resilient to deal with almost anything that life throws your direction.
Well, here are some brutally honest facts from one nurse to another:
Throughout the Program, You Will Often Feel Like You Are Drowning
The LPN profession implies a huge responsibility … you are literally responsible for the lives and wellbeing of your patients. The tricky educational process makes reasonable sense as it prepares you to the best of your ability for such an important role you are going to play in the healthcare industry.
The entire process entails learning about every aspect of the human body and mind…just when you figure out how something works, you will move on to the next topic.
The craziest thing about nursing school and studying the human body is that you don’t realize how much you don’t know…or even how much there is to know… until you get there. It will feel extremely overwhelming.
The consoling emblem in this situation is it is only a period of time, and one day you will move past it. But remember that nursing schools are known for weeding out as many as 30% or more students within the first year as they aim to ensure that you will be prepared to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and kick off your Practical Nursing profession.
It Is Common to Experience Self-negligence While on Your LPN Program
HOWEVER HARD THE JOURNEY GETS, REMEMBER THAT YOU NEED TO PRIORITIZE YOUR SELF-CARE NEEDS…YOUR PERIOD AT NURSING SCHOOL IS TEMPORARY.
Remember that your health and well-being come first before your profession and achievements…if you do not prioritize them, no one will.
There are four self-care tips that one is always advised to adhere to as a nursing student in their quest to achieve their desire;
Get enough rest. The hassle experienced during the educational process to earn the Practical Nursing title should be paralleled with enough rest. You can do this by establishing a good sleep routine.
Since all-nighters are bound to happen, you need to get quality sleep when you can … invest in earplugs, a sleeping mask, and blackout shades.
EXERCISE!! EXERCISE!! EXERCISE!! Even while much of your time will be spent understanding the medical terms and medical concepts, do not forget you could end up as a patient. Try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily … even if it is just a brisk walk or enrolling in the workout programs through mobile applications.
Eat healthily. Never forget to eat the way you would tell your patients to eat. In fact, you cannot escape Practical Nursing school stress, and sometimes you might find yourself turning to eating to deal with your stress levels…
…RESIST the temptation. Instead, invest in healthy foods to avoid reaching junk food when your stress levels hit the maximum.
Meditate: Try meditation as it has been linked to various amazing neurological benefits. Now that we are in the digital era, various mobile applications can help you as a student manage your stress levels starting at only 10 minutes a day… so there is no excuse for you not to embrace them!
From the above tips, it is clear that avoiding failure in a nursing program is extremely hard… you, however, should use them as stepping stones to up your game and learn more.
Closing Thoughts – here is how to make LPN school easy . . .
While many people refer to the first semester of the LPN program as the most difficult for students, I’d say the licensure goes a long way in bridging the final gap to rolling that title.
Before you can earn your first LPN license, you must pass NCLEX-PN, the state-administered nursing examination, administered after you complete the LPN education program approved by your respective state’s Board of Nursing.
Your nursing coursework goes a long way in helping you prepare for the NCLEX, but studying early and smart often is recommended.
As one of our students once said, “AFTER NURSING.COM … “I went from a discouraged, stressed, crying every single week nursing student to . . . a motivated and passionate . . . NURSING.com was just so much easier.”
To help students currently enrolled in LPN school, nursing.com offers several courses covering essential nursing concepts. These self-paced resources are a great way to refresh your memory and build important clinical skills.
Nursing.com is a study that ranks as an all-in-one Classroom and NCLEX Supplement for future Licensed Practical Nurses.
Today, more than 360,000 future nurses trust the study tool to attain success during pre-nursing and yearning for that desired NCLEX success. The tool provides clear and concise study tools for visual, anxious, ADHD, and dyslexic future nurses.
Previously it was common for nursing students to complain of;
Loads of boring PowerPoints
Wasting a lot of their time searching for help from tutors on YouTube and other online sites
Never-ending designated readings
Regular fluctuations of grades
The regular feeling of hopelessness, drained energy, wasted time, or helplessness.
Today, the testimony about life at nursing schools is taking the opposite turn. NURSING.COM is considered the savior for many nursing students as they can easily convert all their complaints to happiness in four easy steps.
You need to;
Watch lesson videos,
Review study tools,
Take practice questions, and
Take NCLEX simulation.
Considering the uniqueness of every nursing student when it comes to learning … NURSING.com developed lessons that incorporate auditory, kinesthetic, visual, and reading/writing study tools that help you master content as you most prefer.
Since nursing involves helping you apply additional knowledge, the study lesson incorporates case studies, concept maps, and care plans written by practicing Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. They include;
Picmonics, although the tool requires you to sign up for a membership.
3D anatomy models
They are also soon introducing Flashcards
Consider trying the 100% risk-free NURSING.com.
The best part is if you want to give this study tool a test drive, you only have to spend a dollar for the first three days … Additionally, you can cancel anytime you want without contacting anyone.
Now that we’ve gotten some light housekeeping out of the way it’s time to tackle the burning question: what kind of salary can an LPN expect to earn? How does that amount differ at the beginning of our careers compared to the end? The answer varies ever so slightly depending on the source that you use, but for comparative purposes, entities like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salary.com, and Nursingprocess.org will give you similar, high-quality answers.
According to theBureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), the median salary for our profession in 2020 was $48,820 per year. That is the equivalent $23.47 per hour. According toSalary.com, that number has inched up over the past twelve months with the median salary now sitting at $49,300 per year.
The aforementioned numbers equal a comfortable center in terms of LPN wages, but that lonely number isn’t representative of the bigger picture.The BLS goes on to saythat the lowest earning LPNs nationwide make approximately $35,570 annually, which breaks down into $17.10 an hour. Conversely, our profession’s highest earners make $31.50 an hour, or $65,520 per year.
One factor that affects an LPN’s potential earnings is theirrelative experience. Generally speaking, those of us who are new to the field make somewhere in the neighborhood of $17.06 an hour, or $35,490 a year. As expected, that number rises as you gain both direct patient experience and tenure.
Another reason for such wide variance in potential salary is the setting in which we work. LPNs are found in wide variety of professional settings, including:
Assisted living facilities
In-home care scenarios
Unsurprisingly, your salary is very much dependent on the professional environment that you find yourself in. For example, LPNs who work at a private practice tend to make less on average with wages clocking in at $21.90, or approximately $45,000 annually.
Those of us whowork in the long-term careenvironment are in the middle of the spectrum at $24.62 an hour, or $51,200 . Those of us who are lucky enough to find employment in a niche industry, such as higher education, will reap the most rewards. A friend I know working at a junior college made a whopping $29.12 an hour, breaking the $60,000 a year mark.
State-by-state Breakdown of LPN Salary Guide
Location, location, location!
Location also mattersimmensely when analyzing yearly LPN salaries. When it comes to median yearly income, Washington State leads the pack at $25.73 per hour or roughly $53,000 per year. New York State is second at $24.01, or approximately $49,000. In general, the more populous states, such as California or Texas, have the most lucrative market for LPNs overall.
At the bottom of the list are Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina. An LPN working in North Carolina can expect to make in the neighborhood of $33,251 per year, on average.
Future Job Outlook
All said and done, the current job market for LPNs is strong, but you want to know the expectedLPN salary. . . and what can we expect going forward?The BLS projectsa surging 25% growth over the next year. That means more than 182,000 new LPN jobs added nationwide!
Record growthis expected to continue in the long term as well. From now until 2026, a steady growth rate of 12% is expected, with opportunity and job safety remaining high. While we can’t say exactly what will happen in terms of salary increases during that time period, given that our profession is in such high demand —and LPNs play such a crucial role in the industry— we’d fully expect that wages will continue to rise incrementally with national need.
Nursing is more than just a job; it’s a calling. For those of us on the front lines, the future of the industry looks bright and secure. If only we were paid like actors and rock stars!
Finding a job with decent median pay should be fairly easy for LPNs at all stages in their career. The bottom line? If you’ve ever thought about entering the profession, now’s the time. You’ve got all the information you need to get started!