What is a Practical Nurse? Understanding This Exciting Entry-Level Job in the Nursing Field

If you’re interested in exploring career options in the nursing field, you probably came across several initialisms like LPN, RN, or CNA. What’s the difference? Which type of nursing accreditation should you pursue?

We’ll explore practical nursing – what it is and options for getting started in Indiana.

What is a Practical Nurse?

A Practical Nurse or LPN is a nurse who does basic nursing and medical care under an RN or doctor’s supervision. 

Practical nurses perform basic nursing tasks such as:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Giving injections
  • Changing dressings
  • Reporting patients’ status and concerns to RNs or physicians
  • Educating patients on surgical aftercare, medical treatment, symptoms, and side effects.

Practical Nurses also help patients with activities of daily living, such as

  • Bathing
  • Eating 
  • Inserting catheters
  • Emotional Support 

Practical Nurses have one of the most important roles, which is to take care of the patient and make them feel comfortable. 

If you are compassionate, detail-oriented, patient, and have a heart for people in the community, then becoming an LPN is the career for you.

What is a practical nurse? A practical nurse smiles as she escorts an elderly patient by the arm down the hallway.
What is a practical nurse?

Where do Practical Nurses work?

Practical nurses typically work full-time with a variety of shift options.

The areas that hire LPNs most frequently are: 

  • Maternity wards
  • Emergency wards
  • Surgery facilities
  • Schools
  • Long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and hospices
  • Rehabs
  • Home health settings

Is a Practical Nurse the same as an LPN?

Yes, Practical Nurses and LPNs are the same things.

Practical nurses, also called licensed practical nurses (LPNs), primary nursing care. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a doctor. Some nurses start as LPN and work toward becoming an RN through continued education. 

Do I have to be a CNA before an LPN?

No, you do not have to be a CNA before an LPN. However, many people choose to become a CNA first because it provides them with invaluable experience that can help them in their career as an LPN. It’s solely a personal choice and isn’t required. 

What are the differences between an LPN and an RN?

The main difference between an LPN and an RN is that one works under the supervision of an RN or a doctor. In contrast, a Registered Nurse works independently with more responsibility. Other differences include the scope of practice, salary, and training required.

How to become an LPN in Indiana? 

You will need to complete an accredited practical nursing program which you could go to for free through one of our partnered schools such as Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University. After completing the program through the schools, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). 

Once you have passed the exam, you will be able to obtain a license from your state’s board of nursing and start your journey as an LPN.

Practical Nurse is a perfect career path for those who want to pursue nursing without taking 2- 4 years to become an RN. 

How long does it take to become a Practical Nurse?

Practical nursing programs typically take 12 months to complete. It depends on the student’s lifestyle and time invested; sometimes, it can take up to 2 years. 

Start your LPN journey through the Next Level Job’s Workforce Ready Grant, which helps qualified students become an LPN for free! 

Our Program averages about one year to complete (2-3 semesters). Once a student completes the LPN program, they will take the (NCLEX-PN), which you must pass to become a Licensed Practical Nurse

It’s important to note that students will receive a Licensed Practical Nurse Certificate. If students would like to obtain an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), they will have to enroll in a qualified degree program. 

Getting a Practical Nursing Technical Certificate can be a stepping stone to more educational and professional opportunities. You can stack your certificate into an associate degree. Going through Next Level Job’s Workforce Ready Grant is one less financial worry so that you can focus on your studies.

What’s an LPN Salary in Indiana?

According to Salary.com, a Licensed Practical Nurse makes an average of $49,159 in Indiana.

In comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the nation’s average salary for LPN is $48,070

How to become an LPN for Free in Indiana?

Yes, you read that right! If you are interested in becoming an LPN without paying thousands of dollars, qualified residents of Indiana can become an LPN for free through the Next Level Job’s Workforce Ready Grant!

This career is in high demand and projected to continue growing!

The Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant is best suited for those with a high school diploma and looking to start a career now.

Learn more about the Next Level Job’s Workforce Ready Grant
We partner with Ivy Tech Community College & Vincennes University