Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, are trained nursing professionals who provide basic care to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. Their tasks might include taking vital signs, measuring blood sugar levels and administering insulin, changing bandages, administering medications, inserting catheters and IVs, checking charts, and more. A LPN degree is a good fit for individuals who like the idea of nursing, but who don’t want to complete the more extensive training required to become a registered nurse (RN), or don’t want the pressure of determining patient care. Online LPN nursing degree programs allow students to take their didactic course work online while completing their clinical requirements at a healthcare facility near where they live. Online degree programs in LPN may also be hybrid programs that require the majority of course work to be completed online with accompanying lab work completed on campus.
Online Associate Degree Programs for LPN
Since LPN programs are typically one-year diploma or certificate programs, online college degree programs for LPNs are often LPN-to-RN programs. Such programs are designed to equip licensed LPNs with the required course work and clinical skills necessary to earn an Associate of Science in Nursing and become RNs. As with most programs that prepare students to work with patients, supervised clinical course work must be completed at a healthcare facility while the course work in nursing theory is completed online. LPN programs generally include courses in anatomy and physiology with labs, pharmacology, microbiology and chemistry with labs, adult and pediatric health, maternal-child nursing, mental health nursing, and principles of nursing management.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for LPN
Online bachelor degree programs are also available to help licensed LPNs complete a bachelor’s degree. These programs, called LPN-to-BSN programs, culminate in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and eligibility to obtain an RN license. North Dakota State University offers one of such programs primarily online. Core courses in NDSU’s program include Leadership and Ethical Reflection, Integrated Family Nursing, Psychosocial Nursing, Public Health Nursing, Nursing Management, and more. Students are also expected to complete a practicum that consists of clinical rotations at a healthcare facility.
Online Degree Programs in LPN in the Work Place
Individuals who complete one-year diploma or certificate programs in licensed practical nursing and obtain licensure in their state may work as LPNs in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing care facilities, and home healthcare companies. The median yearly salary for LPNs was $40,380 in May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Keep in mind, however, that an LPN’s salary can vary significantly based on his or her experience, location, and size of employer. Employment in the field is projected to grow by 22% between 2010 and 2020, the BLS explains. LPNs who transfer their credits into associate or bachelor’s degree programs in nursing, and obtain a license as a registered nurse, have significantly higher earning power as well as better job prospects.