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    Licensed Practical Nurse

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    Employment & Outlook 


    Sources of Additional Information 

    Licensed Practical Nurses (or LPN's) care for ill, injured, convalescent, and handicapped persons in hospitals, clinics, private homes, doctors' offices and other settings. They work under the direction of a registered nurse, licensed physician, or dentist. 

    JOB DUTIES    

    Licensed Practical Nurses may:  

    Assist in the development and modification of patient plans of care 

    Take and record temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiration rate, height, and weight 

    Dress wounds, draw blood samples, and give tube feedings 

    Give enemas, douches, irrigations and catheterizations  

    Apply compresses, ice bags, or hot water bottles  

    Observe patients and chart and report reactions to registered nurse or physician in charge  

    Sterilize equipment and supplies, using germicides, sterilizers, or autoclaves (a pressurized, steam-heated vessel)  

    Give prescribed medication or start intravenous fluids when authorized by a licensed physician, dentist or registered nurse 

    Assist patients in activities of daily living, such as eating, exercising, bathing, oral hygiene, and making beds  

    Assist with teaching patients good health habits  

    Perform simple diagnostic tests  

    Turn patients in bed, position, and help them walk  

    Record the intake and output of food and fluids  

    Care for mothers in labor and after childbirth  

    Feed infants and newborn babies  

    Provide emotional support for patients and families  

    Provide post-mortem care for patients who have died  

    Provide pre-operative and post-operative care  

    Care for patients in isolation, in casts, or in traction  

    Observe patient monitoring equipment  

    Supervise care delivered by nurse aides as delegated by a registered nurse 

    Click here to watch Licensed Practical Nurses at work!   

    The machines, equipment, and work aids used may include:  

    * Tracheotomy tubes 

    * Suction machines 

    * Catheters 

    * Blood pressure devices 

    * Stretchers and wheelchairs 

    * Hypodermic needles and syringes 

    * Surgical dressings 

    * Oxygen equipment 

    * Nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes 

    * Thermometers 

    * Scales 

    * Lifting devices 

    * Nebulizers and/or accessories 

    * Pulmonary function evaluation equipment 


    079.374-014 LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSES (or LPN's) care for ill, injured, convalescent, and handicapped persons in hospitals, clinics, private homes, doctors' offices, nursing homes, medical care facilities, and similar institutions. They work under the direction of a registered nurse, licensed physician, or dentist.  

    In addition to learning about these specialties, you may also find it helpful to explore the following Career Exploration scripts:  


    Licensed Practical Nurses work under the direction of physicians, dentists, or registered nurses. Some LPN's might supervise nursing assistants in patient care functions. They generally work in well equipped, health care facilities that are well lighted and well ventilated. However, those who care for patients in private homes and other locations may work under a variety of environmental conditions. Some of their work can be strenuous such as lifting patients and turning them in bed. They are in close contact with patients who are experiencing illness, pain, discomfort, and death as well as healing and recovery. LPN's may also face hazards from exposure to caustic chemicals, radiation, and infectious diseases. These hazards are greatly reduced by strict adherence to safety procedures.  

    Most LPN's are employed 40 hours per week. Since most patients in either nursing homes or hospitals require daily round-the-clock attention, LPN's may work any of three shifts, weekends, and holidays on a rotation basis. LPN's in patients' homes may work a longer day or more days a week. Others may work less than 40-hours per week or on a part-time basis. Flexible hours, for example, 10- or 12-hour shifts, are often available. Private duty Nurses choose their own jobs and hours.  

    Licensed Practical Nurses must usually furnish their own uniforms, shoes, watch with a second hand, and other miscellaneous equipment.  

    Licensed Practical Nurses, as well as students enrolled in practical nursing programs, may join professional associations such as The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses , Inc., or The National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc . They may also join unions  which represent the employees where they work. Association or union members must pay periodic membership fees.  

    You Should Prefer: 

    • Activities which involve direct personal contact with people
    • Activities which involve helping and working with people
    • Activities which require scientific and technical knowledge  

    You Should Be Able To: 

    • Make decisions based on written policies and procedures
    • Work within precise limits or standards of accuracy
    • Follow instructions
    • Communicate well/to talk with patients/families/staff members
    • Maintain charts and other records
    • Perform a variety of duties which may change often
    • Work cooperatively with others
    • Work well under pressure in critical/unexpected situations
    • Maintain confidentiality of information about patients  

    Math Problem You Should Be Able to Solve:  

    What is the flow rate of IV infusions if:   

    Amount and type of solution: 

    1000ml 5% dextrose/water 

    Time limit: 

    to be infused in 8 hours 

    Drop factor: 


    Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend:  

    If there is insufficient pressure of oxygen in the blood to load the hemoglobin molecules with oxygen, the content of oxygen falls.  

    Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce:  

    Chart and record a patient's blood pressure.  

    Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate:  

    Must demonstrate analytical skills and be able to understand and carry out requests from physicians.  

    Licensed Practical Nurses must be licensed by the Michigan Department of Community Health . 

    Click here  for "Michigan Licensed Occupations," see Nurse, Practical   for specific licensing information. 

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    NOTE: A High School Diploma with specific Vocational Education Classes or a Certificate (program of up to one year of study beyond high school) or an Associate Degree (two years of study beyond high school) or an Apprenticeship (usually three to four years of training beyond high school) may qualify a person for this occupation.  

    The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in the Career Exploration script:  

    ***SCHOOL SUBJECTS***   




    Approved vocational education programs in Nursing Occupations Cluster prepare students to give direct nursing care under the supervision of a nurse or physician. Instruction includes a combination of classroom and supervised clinical experiences.  

    The following courses may be required for completion of this program:  






    High school students should consult their guidance office for more information about the specific requirements of this program at their school or area vocational education center. 

    Students should obtain the local Education & Training Opportunities for information on what happens to students who successfully complete a program. This information is available at each high school or career/technical center. 



    Programs in Practical Nursing provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed for employment giving limited nursing care to patients in homes, doctors' offices, hospitals, and institutions.  

    Courses vary from school to school but may include: 


    Nursing Fundamentals 


    Anatomy & Physiology 


    Gerontology (Care of the Elderly) 

    Emergency Care 

    Human Growth & Development 

    Clinical Practice 

    Patient Care Principals 

    Pediatric Nursing 

    Medical-Surgical Nursing 

    Obstetrical Nursing 

    Patient Care Principles 

    Mental Health 

    General Chemistry 

    Clinical Practice 

    Search for a College and/or Instructional Program 


    Although individuals might enter this occupation through apprenticeship training, currently no apprenticeship programs for this occupation are available in Michigan. For more information, contact the Bureau or Apprenticeship and Training found in the Sources of More Information below.  


    Please check the Military web site at . 


    The military provides medical care to all men and women in the services. Medical care technicians work with teams of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to provide treatment to patients. They help give patients the care and treatment required to help them recover from illness or injury. They also prepare rooms, equipment, and supplies in hospitals and medical clinics.  

    What They Do   

    Medical care technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties: 

    • Provide bedside care in hospitals including taking the body temperature, pulse, and respiration rate of patients
    • Feed, bathe, and dress patients
    • Prepare patients, operating rooms, equipment, and supplies for surgery
    • Make casts, traction devices, and splints according to physicians' instructions
    • Give medication to patients under the direction of physicians and nurses  

    Physical Demands   

    Some specialties in this area require sufficient strength to lift and move patients, and some require a normal skin condition to guard against infection.  

    Helpful Attributes   

    Helpful school subjects include general science, biology, and psychology. Helpful attributes include: 

    • Interest in helping others
    • Ability to work under stressful or emergency conditions
    • Ability to follow directions precisely  

    Work Environment   

    Medical care technicians work in hospitals and clinics on land or aboard ships. In combat situations, they may work in mobile field hospitals.  

    Training Provided   

    Job training consists of 7 to 52 weeks of classroom instruction, in patient care. Training length varies depending on specialty. Course content typically includes: 

    • Patient care techniques
    • Emergency medical techniques
    • Methods of sterilizing surgical equipment
    • Plaster casting techniques  

    Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. 

    Civilian Counterparts   

    Civilian medical care technicians work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric hospitals, or doctors' offices. Their work is similar to duties performed in the military. Those with less than a year of formal training may be called nurses aides, orderlies, or psychiatric aides. Those who have completed practical nurse training are called practical nurses or licensed practical nurses. 


     The military provides medical care to all men and women in the services.  Medical care technicians work with teams of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to provide treatment to patients.  They help give patients the care and treatment required to help them recover from illness or injury.  They also prepare rooms, equipment and supplies in hospitals and medical clinics. E-Learning Courses and Programs 

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    Secondary vocational education programs in nursing occupations cluster and postsecondary practical nursing programs may offer opportunities for experience. Related military training is also available. Other opportunities are: helping ill persons at home, serving as a volunteer or paid worker with health organizations, and working as a nurse's aide. Some high schools have Future Nurses clubs.  

    School-to-Work opportunities include:  

    informal apprenticeships  


    job shadowing experiences  

    touring a local Licensed Practical Nurse employer 


    volunteer work with a Licensed Practical Nurse employer  

    community service work with an agency  

    After obtaining a license, Licensed Practical Nurses can find employment by contacting employers directly. Assistance is available through school placement offices and the local Michigan Works!offices. Jobs may also be found in newspaper want ads or nursing journals. LPN's who would like private duty work may register their availability with hospitals and doctors' offices. In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as: 


    Onward Healthcare 

    Medical-AdMart - Doctors & Nurses 

    Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 

    Michigan Talent Bank 

    Indeed | one search. all jobs. 



    You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services. 

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    Earnings for LPN's vary with employer, shift worked, geographic location, and training and experience. Licensed Practical Nurses employed in large hospitals in well populated areas or LPN's certified to give medications tend to receive higher than average wages.  

    Nationally, the annual salaries (early 2009) of LPN's employed by hospitals and related institutions ranged between $34,800 and $42,000, with an average of $37,600.  

    In Michigan hospitals, annual salaries for Licensed Practical Nurses qualified to pass medications to patients were (late 2008):  




    Middle Range 



    $35,464 - $41,891 

    West Central 


     $35,692 - $40,560 



     $39,920 - $44,241 

    South West 


     $37,252 - $41,080 

    Licensed Practical Nurses employed by the State of Michigan earned between $36,816 and   $50,731 per year in mid 2009. LPN supervisors earned from $38,792 to $56,992. Some Nurses may also receive extra pay for evening, night, and weekend work.  

    Depending on the employer, most LPN's have paid vacations and holidays; life, accident, disability, and hospitalization insurance; retirement plans; and sick pay. LPN's employed in hospitals may also receive optical and dental insurance. Some LPN's may receive tuition reimbursement for professional advancement.  

    Opportunities are limited without additional training. Some Licensed Practical Nurses work while training to become a registered nurse. Promotions for LPN's usually consist of salary increases for longevity and good job performance. Some individuals also obtain higher pay by completing courses which prepare them for work with patients requiring specialized care such as rehabilitation.  

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    Nationally, in 2006, about 748,600 Licensed Practical Nurses were employed. Their employment is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. The industry distribution for Licensed Practical Nurses looked like this:  

    NAICS Code 

    NAICS Industry Title 

    % Employed 


    Nursing and residential care facilities 



    Hospitals, public and private 



    Ambulatory health care services 



    Administrative and support services 



    State and local government 



    Educational services, public and private 



    Federal government 





    To find employers, click Employer/Business Locator. 

    The effort to restrain the increase in health care costs and the widespread use of advanced medical equipment and procedures may adversely affect employment. The best opportunities will be in nursing homes, home health agencies, and in private duty nursing. About 26% of all LPN's work part. 

    In early 2009, there were approximately 26,200 Licensed Practical Nurses employed in Michigan. Employment of Licensed Practical Nurses is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014. An average of 490 annual openings is expected, with 120 due to growth and 370 due to replacement of those who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons. Additional openings will occur as LPN's transfer to other jobs or occupations. 

    The employment outlook is expected to improve in the long run in response to the needs of a growing and aging population; broadened public and private health insurance plans; and expanded programs for the elderly, particularly in geriatric and acute-care health facilities. However, as hospitals continue to reduce the number of beds and take other steps to keep costs from increasing, employment opportunities for Licensed Practical Nurses will be more favorable in nursing homes and home health-care agencies. 

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    The American Assembly of Men 

    Health Care Association 

    In Nursing 

    Of Michigan 

    P.O. Box 130220 

    P.O. Box 80050 

    Birmingham, AL  35213 or 

    Lansing, MI  48908 or 

    601 37th Street South 

    7413 Westshire Drive 

    Birmingham, AL  35222 

    Lansing, MI    48917 

     (205) 956-0146 

     (517) 627-1561 



    National Association for 

    National League for Nursing 

    Practical Nurse Education and Service 

    Div. of Educ. & Accreditation 

    1940 Duke Street, Ste 200                 

    61 Broadway, 33rd 

    Alexandria, VA   22314 

    New York, NY   10006 

     (703) 933-1003 

     (212) 363-5555 or 1-800-669-1656 



    National Federation of 

    Michigan Department of Community Health 

    Licensed Practical Nurses 

    Bureau of Health Professions 

    605 Poole Drive 

    Board of Nursing 

    Garner, NC   27529 

    201 Townsend Street                           

     (919) 779-0046 

    Lansing, MI   48913 


     (517) 373-3740 



    Michigan Licensed Practical 

    U.S. Veterans Administration 

    Nurses Association 

    Office of Nursing Services 

    5900 Executive Drive 

    810 Vermont Avenue, NW (108) 

    Lansing, MI   48911 

    Washington, DC   20420 

    (517) 882-6657 

    (202) 273-9237 



    U.S. Department of Labor 

    Michigan Health Occupations 

    Bureau of Apprenticeship 

    Students of America 

    And Training 

    2410 Woodlake Drive 

    315 W. Allegan - Room 209 

    Okemos, MI   48864 

    Lansing, MI   48933 

    (517) 347-8088 

    (517) 377-1746 




    Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 

    Local Military Recruiters 

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    Copyright © 2009 Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth 

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