Advanced LPN Training

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You’ve successfully navigated through training, passed the certification test and landed a job as a licensed practical nurse. What’s next? Well, for the dedicated LPN, that’s just the start to a rewarding career in the health care industry.

The sheer number of LPNs are on the rise; however, you can take steps to set yourself apart from the competition. The adage of “knowledge is power” rings true in the medical community. As an LPN, you will have opportunities for continuing education along with a variety of certification programs. By taking advantage of these training opportunities, you will gain valuable experience and ultimately become more marketable as an LPN with a specialty.

As a licensed practical nurse, you will have many opportunities to participate in continuing education and certification programs that will enhance your career. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you are gaining valuable experience while at the same time helping to build your resume.

Pick a specialty that interests you and research your training options. With a little extra time and effort, you will have an invaluable niche that you will be able to apply toward a rewarding career as an LPN in the healthcare community. Here are a few options that you can choose:

Continuing Education for LPNs

The duties and responsibilities for LPNs are increasing; however, so are the educational opportunities to fulfill these demands. In the competitive field of nursing, taking advantage of educational opportunities is often the key to advancement.

Successful LPNs need to learn how to specialize in whatever medical niche that they work in at their current institution. Continuing education units come in a wide variety of topics and specialties. Take the time to go above and beyond your typical CEUs. This extra effort will pay off in the long run.

It’s also good idea to stay informed about upcoming trends in your specialty and seek out educational opportunities related to these trends. This will add to your resume, while providing the necessary experience to give you that extra edge in your field.

CEUs are now offered in several convenient formats. You can take courses online or subscribe to educational pamphlets that are sent to you through the mail.

The most rewarding type of CEUs are the ones that offer some type of certification program. LPNs can take advantage of certifications such as: IV therapy, long-term-care, hemodialysis, pharmacology, and wound care. The certifications will help add instant credibility to your profession as a licensed practical nurse.

LPN to Charge Nurse

Another potential for career advancement is to become a charge nurse. While hospitals typically use RNs as charge nurses, long-term-care facilities and nursing homes often employ LPNs as charge nurses.

Prior to becoming a charge nurse, you must gain experience as an LPN on the floor, working directly with other nurses and patients. According to the Department of Labor, in 2015, LPN charge nurses earn from $36,000-$49,000.

Your primary duty as a LPN charge nurse is to supervise other LPN and CNAs during your shift. LPN charge nurses are responsible for the following additional activities on a daily basis:

  • Ensure that patients receive proper care
  • Maintain accurate documentation according to facility policy
  • Monitor charts
  • Maintain contact with physicians regarding patients

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, charge nurses summarize their typical daily responsibilities as administrative duties along with the monitoring of vital signs, critical signs, sterilization techniques and universal precautions. As a LPN charge nurse you will most likely report to a supervising RN regarding patient matters and required paperwork.

LPN to RN Programs

LPNs that decide to transition from LPN to RN can benefit from additional career opportunities and higher salaries. The demand for RNs is increasing from 21% to 35% through 2015, reports the US Department of Labor.

As an LPN, you already are a step ahead of other nursing students. There are several LPN to RN bridge and transition programs that are readily available to practicing LPNs. As a practicing LPN, you will not be required to take some of the courses that other new nursing students have to take.

The typical LPN to RN training program takes about a year and once completed you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination.

LPN Phlebotomist Certification

A phlebotomist is qualified to draw blood samples from patients for laboratory analysis. LPNs can become certified in phlebotomy bypassing a certification course. This training is administered by the National Phlebotomy Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Association of Phlebotomy Technicians.

Depending on the program, the training can take anywhere from one semester to a year to complete. The curriculum typically includes laboratory safety procedures, venipuncture education, anatomy and physiology. The coursework also includes practical experience in a combination of clinical applications that involve venipunctures on manikins.

Gerontology Certification for LPNs

As our population ages, the need for LPNs in nursing homes and long-term care facilities is on the rise. LPNs that specialize in treating the elderly will be at the head of the pack when it comes to employment opportunities.

The National Federation of License Practical Nurses (NFLPN) offers a gerontology certification program for prospective LPNs, who want to obtain this specialization. The first step in this process is to obtain a letter stating that you possess the required LPN training to be accepted into the program. Examples of this endorsement letter can be obtained from the NFLPN’s website.

Additionally, you will need to have your current institution host the exam. Your facility will be responsible for supplying all of the testing material. Refer to the NFLPN’s website for examples of the paperwork that will be required from your place of employment.

After the initial steps are completed, there is an application process that you will need to submit to the NFLPN. Once your application is accepted, you will receive study materials, and an exam review. The written test will then be administered by your institution and the results will be forwarded to the NFLPN. After successfully completing the exam, you will receive your gerontology certification, which is valid for two years. To maintain this certification, you’ll be required to take 20 continuing education units every two years.

Pharmacology Certification

LPNs that have a certification in pharmacology undergo a detailed study of how certain pharmacological drugs affect the human body. This certification gives LPNs more responsibilities and therefore, makes them more marketable to employers.

The first step in the process is to complete an application and schedule an exam date. Once your test is scheduled, review the study material and obtain study aids from the school that is hosting your exam.

The exam topics generally include a study of the body’s immune system, medication side effects, IV flows and a review of diuretics. A typical LPN pharmacology test has 50 questions, and you must score over 76% to pass the test.

IV Therapy Certification

LPNs who obtain a certification in IV therapy undergo training in the administration of fluids, medication and blood into a vein through a needle. IV therapy training typically includes a pre-study curriculum along with classroom training utilizing manikins. This course of study includes topics such as:

  • Central line use
  • Patient assessment
  • Medication administration
  • Infection control
  • Blood and plasma
  • Electrolytes

This training can usually be completed in one to two days, and the course culminates in an examination that covers the topics covered during the training. Check with your state’s nursing boards regarding regulations authorizing LPNs to perform IV therapy.

Long-Term Care Certification

Long-term care certification programs enable LPNs to gain a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental set of values and knowledge base that is utilized in long-term care facilities. This training is particularly useful for LPNs who are employed in these types of facilities.

Certification courses can often be obtained through your employer and include topics such as:

  • Resident assessment
  • Clinical risk to residents
  • Medical emergencies
  • LPNs responsibilities in long-term care settings
  • Drug therapy in older residents
  • Handling complaints
  • Legal issues in long-term care facilities