The Licensed Practical Nurse Program Curriculum

If you are considering studying to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), then it is important that you not only know what the job entails, but that you also know ahead of time what the LPN curriculum is so that you know what you are letting yourself in for.

The nursing field is expanding in all directions due to the ongoing nurse shortage in the United States. This shortage is due to many nurses going on pension, insufficient nursing colleges or schools to feed the demand, and largely due to the ever-increasing elderly requiring more nursing care for longer. It is simple; people are living longer due to the great strides modern medicine has and is making, but just because they are living longer does not mean that they are healthy until they die. This means that there are more and more elderly people who have diseases or conditions which would have killed them before now surviving those diseases and conditions, but with the need for ongoing care.LPN Curriculum

An LPN qualification is an entry-level licensure. Once you have fulfilled all that is required by the LPN curriculum, you will need to sit for the NCLEX-PN examination, and only on passing that will you gain licensure to practice. An LPN does basic nursing tasks and mainly sees to the comfort and mobility of a patient, helps them to get dressed, with their daily ablutions, some administrative work, and in some states they may dispense medication.

Most individuals study to become a licensed practical nurse at a community college where the class schedules are flexible, which means that you can continue to work at your current job or continue to raise your children and study at the same time. The other option is to study through a vocational nurse training school that specializes in LPN and CNA programs.

The LPN Curriculum

The curriculum for licensed practical nursing is basically the same everywhere, no matter the school, as they have to cover certain subjects. There are, however, some choices that you can make yourself, such as whether to study over three semesters or four semesters. Obviously the less time you take to study the quicker you can sit for the NCLEX-PN examination and the quicker you will get your licensure and be able to work, but you need to make sure that you have sufficient time to study, so think carefully before making your decision.

Subjects Studied In The LPN Curriculum

NUR 101: Body Structure and Function or BIO 201 (Students choice)

This module will provide you with the basic knowledge of the normal structure of the human body, and how it functions.

You will learn:

  • How the organs relate to each other
  • The relationship that each organ system has with the homeostasis
  • Medical terminology

Upon completion of this segment you will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the systems in the body, how they interrelate and associated medical technology.

In this section you will earn 3 theory credits, 1 lab credits and 0 clinical credits, and a total of 6 contact hours.

NUR 102: Fundamentals of Nursing        

This portion of the LPN curriculum will help you to develop the competencies required to meet the needs of patients throughout their lifespan in a manner which is legal, safe and ethical, using the process of nursing.

You will learn:

  • Theories and concepts basic to the science and art of nursing
  • The role of the nurse as a valuable member of the medical team
  •  The psychomotor nursing skills that you will need to assist patients in meeting their most basic human needs
  • The concepts of client needs, critical thinking, communication, ethical-legal, nursing history, safety, cultural diversity, teaching/learning, and the philosophy of nursing
  • The skills required to maintain physical, microbial, and psychological safety
  • Skills required in order to perform therapeutic interventions

At the conclusion of this program you will be able to demonstrate competency in performing the basic nursing skills required for individuals with common health alterations.

In this section you will earn 3 theory credits, 2 lab credits and 1 clinical credit, and a total of 12 contact hours

NUR 103: Health Assessment

This section of the LPN curriculum focuses on the adult, and will teach you the theory and give you a chance to practice what you have learned.

You will learn:

  • How to take the history of patients
  • How to perform physical examinations
  • How to analyse symptoms in patients
  • How to do psychosocial, physical, and growth and development assessments

Once you have completed this section you will know how to utilize critical thinking skills to identify health alterations, how to formulate nursing diagnoses and how to document your findings.

In this section you will earn 0 theory credits, 1 lab credit and 0 clinical credits, and a total of 3 contact hours

NUR 104: Introduction to Pharmacology

In this part of the LPN curriculum you will learn how to develop the competencies that you will need to meet the needs of individuals in a legal, ethical and safe manner, utilising the nursing process.

You will learn:

  • The basic principles of pharmacology
  • How to safely administer medication
  • Legal implications
  • Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • How to calculate drug dosages
  • How to administer medications
  • An overview of various drug classifications

Upon completion of this module you will be able to calculate and administer certain medications

In this section you will earn 0 theory credits, 1 lab credit and 1 clinical credit, and a total of 3 contact hours

NUR 105: Adult Nursing

In this section you will be given the opportunity to develop your competencies in meeting the needs of individuals in a legal, safe and ethical manner throughout their lifespan, using the nursing process.

You will learn:

  • How to provide care to patients undergoing surgery
  • How to deal with common alterations in the respiratory, gastro-intestinal, endocrine, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and integumentary systems
  • How to handle fluid and electrolyte imbalance
  • You will also learn more pharmacology and communication concepts
  • Cultural and community concepts are integrated.

On completion of this section of the LPN curriculum you will know how to handle surgery patients, and see to their needs in respect of their entire system. You will also have gained knowledge about working in communities and dealing with various cultures.

In this section you will earn 5 theory credits, 1 lab credit and 2 clinical credits, and a total of 14 contact hours

NUR 106: Maternal and Child Nursing

This module of the LPN curriculum focuses on the role of a nurse in meeting the psychosocial, cultural, physiological, and developmental needs of maternal and child patients.

You will learn:

  • Antepartal, intrapartal, and postpartal care
  • Possible complications that can occur in a pregnancy
  • How to care for a newborn
  • Human growth and development
  • How to care for children (pediatric care­)
  • Selected pediatric alterations
  • Nutrition, pharmacology, communication and cultural diversity
  • The correct use of technology
  • Anatomy and physiology review
  • Medical terminology
  • How to apply critical thinking
  • Applications of the nursing process

Upon completion of this program you will be in a position to provide and manage care for pediatric and maternal patients in various settings.

In this section you will do earn 4 theory credits, 0 lab credits and 1 clinical credit, and a total of 7 contact hours

NUR 107: Adult/Child Nursing

This module of the LPN curriculum continues your education in the competencies required to provide the best, safest, legal and ethical manner in which to provide nursing services to patients throughout their lifespan.

You will learn:

  • How to provide care to individuals who are experiencing complex alterations in their endocrine, neurological, cardiovascular, or genitourinary system
  • How to provide nursing care to patients who are undergoing complicated changes in the sensory/perceptual reproductive, lower gastrointestinal or immune system.
  • How to treat patients with burns, emergent conditions or cancer
  • Nutrition, critical thinking, error prevention, therapeutic communication, and pharmacology
  • Cultural diversity, community work, health promotion, and various impacts on maternal and children’s health

Once you have completed this section you will be in a position to treat children and maternal patients with various complex problems and conditions.

In this section you will earn 5 theory credits, 0 lab credits and 3 clinical credits, and a total of 14 contact hours

NUR 108: Psychosocial Nursing

This section of the LPN curriculum deals with the psychosocial adaptation and coping concepts used when nursing certain patients.

You will learn:

  • The psychosocial adaptation and coping concepts to use when caring for patients who are suffering from acute and chronic alterations in mental health, in various settings
  • Therapeutic communication skills
  • Normal and abnormal behaviors
  • Various treatment modalities
  • Developmental needs

Upon completion of this module you will be able to demonstrate the ability to assist your patients to maintain psychosocial integrity through the use of a legal, ethical nursing process.

In this section you will earn 2 theory credits, 0 lab credits and 1 clinical credit, and a total of 5 contact hours

NUR 109: Role Transition for the Practical Nurse

This is the final module of the LPN curriculum, and it prepares you to transition from student to practicing nurse.

You will learn:

  • About current issues in health care
  • Practical nursing leadership and management
  • Professional practice issues
  • How to transition into the workplace

The emphasis in this portion of the training is placed on computer-assisted simulations and practice tests, National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN) test-taking skills, the development of a prescriptive plan for remediation, and a thorough review of selective content which is specific to the practice of a licensed practical nurse.

In this section you will earn 2 theory credits, 1 lab credit and 0 clinical credits, and a total of 5 contact hours

Prerequisite Courses

Apart from the above LPN curriculum, some schools require that applicants must have completed some prerequisite coursed before entrance to the program will be given. These could include:

  • MTH 116  – or Higher Level  Mathematical Applications (3 credit hours)
  • English 101 – English Composition (3 credit hours)
  • BIO 201  – Human Anatomy and Physiology I  (4 credit hours)
  • BIO 202 – Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credit hours)

Whichever program you decide to study through, remember that although the LPN curriculum may be the same, not all colleges are accredited, and unless you study through an accredited institution you will not be able to sit for the NCLEX-PN examination, which means that you will not be able to gain licensure.

Licensure By Examination

Once you have completed the entire LPN curriculum you will need to sit for the NCLEX-PN examination in order to determine whether you are competent to practice nursing safely and effectively. Only on passing this exam will you gain licensure and be allowed to use the designation Licensed Practical Nurse and work in the nursing field. The exam should be taken in the state in which you intend practicing as a licensed practical nurse.

Qualifications for the licensure by examination include:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must be in possession of a high school qualification or the equivalent
  • You must be of good moral character
  • Successful completion and graduation from an accredited practical nursing program
  • No felony convictions
  • You must be willing to undergo drug screening
  • You must provide the results of a current TB Screening or current Chest x-rays

In order to retain licensure you will need to satisfy the continuing education requirements in order to re-register every two years. You will also need to have a current unendorsed license, have worked for a minimum number of hours within the previous two years, and not have been convicted of a felony, or exhibit any mental incompetence.

Once you have completed all of the studies required in the LPN curriculum and have worked for a while as a licensed practical nurse, you may want to study further, and there are many opportunities for you to do so via other programs or bridging courses.

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