Inside LPN Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Connecting With Patients...
I was surprised that I connected so much with my patients. It was hard at first to keep my emotions out of my work." (LPN; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Nursing at Presentation College in South Dakota; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Pretzel Logic Defined: Managed Care...
I am surprised by the limited use and scope of those in my vocation. I am surprised despite the highly skilled and intelligent LPN's in my field are scope is not broader. Though I enjoy my job and the people entrusted in my care I am often forced to work under Nursing Professionals who do not put forth the effort the effort their skill set affords them and instead see the job as punch in and punch out on time and make it look all done even if it's not. Moreover, I am even more surprised at the limited knowledge of so many new and foreign nursing personal have that it is almost dangerous to allow them to care for any living thing." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, female
School: Studied Licensed Practical Nurse / Healthcare at Orange / Ulster Boces in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2004

"Limited Career Path...
I was surprised how few career paths are available to LPNs. The school described the career field as broad and in reality there are only 2 or 3 options for career paths. Nursing homes, Doctor's offices, and home care." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Licensed Practical Nursing at Miami Jacobs Career College in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"The Elderly Deserve Proper Attention...
Nursing is a wonderfully rewarding career, but it did surprise me that state laws can sometimes be quite restrictive in my ability to show warmth and caring to my residents. I take care of the elderly in a nursing home setting, I want my residents to feel loved and taken care of. Sometimes I must care for 40 residents at one time. I cannot give each resident the proper amount of my time because I have too many residents to take care of at one time. In my opinion, state regulations need to be reevaluated. The elderly are wonderful people and they deserve a nurse that is not always under time pressure." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Nursing at Illinois Valley Community College in Illinois; completed Professional degree in 2009

"Know Your Stuff Before You Get To Clinicals...
I was surprised at how much you are already expected to know during your clinicals. You are thrown to the wolves even before you graduate, being expected to know what to do, when to do it, and get it done. Often your teacher won't even be around to help you. We really had to know our meds, labs and procedures before we arrived at clinicals or we would have been looking, feeling, and actually being clueless." (LVN; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied LVN at Preferred College Of Nursing in Arkansas; completed Diploma degree in 2012

"Many Different Opportunities...
I was surprised by the variety of nursing jobs there are out there. With the right experience and education there are opportunities in OB, operating rooms, doctor's offices, emergency rooms, long term care, and even in schools." (Nursing; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Licensed Practical Nursing at Marion S. Whalen School Of Practical Nursing in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"I was surprised to learn that nurses have so many creative options related to schedules and hours worked. For several years I worked weekends only but received full-time benefits and pay for covering weekends. This allowed me to stay home with my children when they were young instead of sending them to daycare." (LPN; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Practical Nursing at Capitol Area School Of Practical Nursing in Illinois; completed Certificate degree in 1987

"What surprised me most about my profession although it may seem obvious, is how much patience I need when dealing with patients (no pun intended). It's hard to anticipate how stubborn, arrogant and just plain ignorant some people are." (LPN; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Practical Nursing at Bay College in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Nursing Requires Teamwork...
What surprised me most, was finding out just how much the nursing field relies on teamwork, and collaboration with co-workers. Another thing that I found very surprising, was how grateful patients can be." (LPN; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in New Mexico, female
School: Studied Nursing at Maric College Of Nursing in California in 1994

"Obstacles Faced In Nursing...
I was surprised with just exactly how rude doctors can be even if you are polite towards them when contacting the doctor on call. A doctor got angry when I called them at 7AM regarding his patient who was having issues. He yelled at me for waking him up. I was also surprised that working in home health care that a mom taking care of her adult daughter can make dangerous medicine decisions because she found something online on a message board. She stated she has been taking care of her daughter for x amount of years and we should not question her decisions even if they are life threatening. My boss actually backed her up so I left that company. I am not losing my license over someone with a fragile ego. Also, the mom was not a nurse nor did she have formal medical training. She uses the internet to get information on what to do." (LPN; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Practical Nursing at Wastenaw CC in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2004

"Paperwork Outweighs Patient Care...
I was surprised that I am required to do such a large amount of paperwork. I am required as a nurse to document absolutely everything that happens on my shift. I was also surprised at my lack of co-workers. I work in a retirement facility and sometimes I can have 40 patients at a time by myself." (LPN; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Nursing at Henry Ford Community College in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Practical Nursing: A Versatile Career Choice...
I was surprised at the versatility that my career choice provided. Licensed practical nurses can work in a variety of settings, such as physicians' offices, correctional healthcare (i.e. jails and prisons), home health, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. An LPN isn't as limited to a hospital setting as registered nurse tends to be." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Practical Nursing at Gaston College in North Carolina; completed Diploma degree in 2002

"The Need To Pace One's Self...
I was surprised how involved the work was and how important it is to always be respectful of the patient's requests. Namely, to always be compassionate towards the alleviation of their pain. The schedules at the hospital where I worked consisted of 12-hour days for orientation and 8-hour days on a regular shift once the training was over. I was also surprised that a lot of the courses that I learned while in school were hardly needed and that I would like to have learned more about pacing oneself while doing patient care. I was also surprised that a lot of the other nurses would shirk some responsibilities just to be able to get the more important things charted. So, pacing oneself is probably the most important aspect of good, thorough patient care. Keeping notes of what needed to be accomplished throughout the shift really helped me a lot." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2012)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Licensed Practical Nurse at Fayette County Vo-Tech in Pennsylvania; completed Diploma degree in 2008

"What I found surprising is the amount of work that can be done. I mean the hours that are available, one can make lots of money if they are willing to work...or you can work 12 hour shifts and have to only work 3 days a week!" (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2012)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, male
School: Studied Nursing at Rainy River Community College in Minnesota; completed Associate degree in 2003

Career Tips

"Volunteer In The Field To Get Noticed...
If you are interested in a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse, spend time during school volunteering at a local nursing home. There are many LPNs looking for work and you will need to set yourself apart from the pack. Volunteering before you are able to be hired will get your noticed in the field." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

"Skills And Education...
Success in nursing requires not only book smarts but excellent people skills. You are not only dealing with injured and sick patients but their families, doctors, nurse managers, hospital administrators, and pharmacists. You have to be an advocate for the patient. My other piece of advice is if you want to continue on from LPN to RN to do it as soon after graduation as you can. I did not and life got in the way!" (Nursing; 2014)

"A Good Foundation For An Interest In Nursing...
Taking health related classes, such as medical terminology can be extremely beneficial to success in practical nursing. Also, becoming a certified nursing assistant prior to studying practical nursing is a tremendous help. It is often difficult hands-on work, and allows a person to determine if health occupation is really what he or she wants to do. Obtaining certification as a nursing assistant also gives anyone interested in nursing an advantage, because it teaches the basics of taking vital signs, changing linens, and interacting with patients." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

"Work Smarter, Not Harder...
Do not stop your education, work smarter not harder. Do the best you can and feel good about the care you render and the hold true to your core values that you impart to those whom you work for, with and around." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

"Time Management Skills Needed...
A good nurse must be able to deal with stressful situations and be able to react quickly to emergencies. Excellent time management skills are extremely important. A nurse must also have the ability to deal with very sad situations, and not let these situations interfere with their home life. Leave work at work." (Licensed Practical Nurse; 2014)

"Start Looking For A Job When You Begin Nursing School...
Network starting as soon as you can. Introduce yourself to the nurses, managers, and your preceptors at your clinicals. Ask about jobs, and what you have to do to work there. Get to know all of your classmates, and try to volunteer somewhere you could potentially work in the future. It's an extremely difficult job market, and it is NOT friendly to new grads." (LVN; 2013)

"You'll See The Human Body In A Whole New Way...
Be prepared to see the human body in a different light. It becomes more of a mechanical thing rather than a person at times as you become aware that's something we need to take care of." (LPN; 2013)

"Keep Going, People Are Counting On You...
You can a great life for yourself in nursing. I know how hard all the classes can be, but stick to it, it's worth it in the end to be able to help patients, and hear the words of thanks that many families will give to you." (LPN; 2013)

"Do Not Be Afraid To Ask For Help...
The tips I would give is that if you feel like you are in any danger, do not be afraid to report to your boss about it. If you feel uncomfortable giving a med or doing a procedure; do not be afraid to ask for help or for clarification as to why you are doing what you are doing." (LPN; 2013)

"Constant Reward And Satisfaction...
Despite my few issues I've had, I wouldn't ever change my career choice. I love the mental reward I get from helping patients and their families." (LPN; 2013)

"PRN Schedule Has Advantages...
If you are covered by your spouses' insurance then consider working a PRN schedule. This means you can pick and choose your hours worked. PRN nurses are not guaranteed hours but they receive a higher rate of pay. The flexibility of setting your own schedule allows freedom to pursue other things." (LPN; 2013)

"Need Passion For This Profession...
Make sure nursing is what you want to do. It will take a lot of hard work but if you are passionate about nursing, it can greatly improve your life satisfaction overall. I have encountered a few co-workers who are essentially miserable in their positions; therefore, I wouldn't recommend nursing on the sole basis of there being jobs everywhere you go." (LPN; 2013)