Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) help care for
ill or injured people and perform health maintenance duties under
the direction of physicians, osteopathic physicians, dentists, and
Most LPNs provide basic bedside care to
patients such as taking temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respirations,
applying dressings, helping patients with bathing and personal hygiene,
and administering prescribed medications. LPNs observe and report
on patients' symptoms, reaction to treatment and medication, and
progress. Some LPNs help registered nurses care for seriously ill
patients in intensive care units or in the delivery and care of
LPNs work in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices, private
homes, health departments, and other settings. They generally work
40-hour weeks which include weekends, nights, and holidays. The
work demands that they be on their feet most of the time. Bending,
stooping, lifting, and walking are required. The work can be very
rewarding for those who enjoy being of service to others.
The number of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
employed in Florida in 2006 was 50,501. It is projected that in
2014 there will be 61,436. This represents an annual average growth
rate of 2.4 percent.
Length of Training/Requirements
Practical nursing training programs are offered in community colleges,
technical and vocational centers, and hospitals. The programs usually
take one year to complete and certify the graduate to take the state
licensure examination. Most programs require applicants to have
a high school diploma or the equivalent and pass a physical exam.
Classroom instruction covers basic nursing concepts, anatomy, physiology,
nutrition, first-aid, and other related subjects. Supervised clinical
experience is provided in hospitals and other settings.
In some employment settings, such as nursing homes, LPNs can advance
to become charge nurses who oversee the work of other LPNs and of
nursing aides. Some LPNs also choose to become registered nurses
through numerous LPN-to-RN training programs.
Licensure is required for practice in Florida. Graduates of practical
nursing programs approved by the Florida State Board of Nursing
must pass the written examination from the National Council of State
Boards of Nursing, NCLEX-PN, to be licensed. Continuing education
hours are required every two years for license renewal.
The average hourly wage for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational
Nurses in Florida in 2009 was $19.44.