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Can You Become an LPN? Here’s What It Takes

Though an extremely rewarding career, a licensed practical nurse is not a job everyone can do. LPNs have one of the most important jobs around, but to do it one must have three things: a strong stomach, patience, and a big heart. These are things you can’t learn in the LPN classes you have to take.

Strong Stomach

LPNs deal with very sick people–people who were either just admitted to their care or are recovering from some heavy surgeries. An LPN must be able to handle sick bodies with care as they check their vital signs. It is also required that LPNs pick up the slack for busy doctors by cleaning and dressing wounds. A LPN must have a strong stomach and be able to deal with such unpleasantries as puss and blood. LPNs spend a lot of time bandaging patients and even assisting in suture placements. They must also not be afraid of needles as they may need to administer injections and enemas. Sometimes an LPN will monitor and change catheters and naso-gastric tubes. They may even administer epidurals. In some states it is not uncommon for an LPN to start intravenous fluids and provide care to ventilator-dependent patients. These types of things may be hard for some people, but an LPN is a hero, able to deal with all sorts of things in order to make a difference.

Patience

Being a licensed practical nurse also requires a lot of patience. A doctor only comes around to a patient every once and a while. It is the LPN who becomes the patient’s primary caregiver. Every day an LPN is there to help a patient get out of bed, go to the bathroom, bathe, dress, get to an appointment, eat, and any other daily activity. An LPN must have patience. They should not rush a patient who finds it hard to sit up in bed. An LPN needs to stand by their side and guide the patient through even the most basic daily procedures. Day after day an LPN is there to help other people live their lives and try and obtain some type of normalcy. It is an LPNs’ job to take on the role of a caring guardian, holding the patient’s hand as they slowly fight through the day.

A Big Heart

This last requirement of a licensed practical nurse is closely linked with patience. Because an LPN becomes the patient’s primary caregiver, helping them perform simple tasks every day, they also become an emotional outlet for the patient. Patients are usually in a lot of pain and agony and may even be contemplating their own mortality. These are heavy things to deal with and it is important that the patient has someone to talk to. Many times, an LPN will find themselves lending a caring ear, helping a patient through these thoughts. Sometimes however, a patient may become confused, agitated, or uncooperative because of their medications and pain. In these cases it is also important for the LPN to have a big heart and help the patient come to terms with these things or at least make the suffering somewhat easier. 

So, do you have a strong stomach, patience, and a caring heart? You may not see these listed on a standard LPN resume, but they should be.

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