The Purpose Of An LPN Clinical

When deciding to become a nurse there are two aspects to the training that you will undergo: an LPN theoretical training course, and an LPN clinical training course. Both are equally important for any nurse who wants to make a success of their nursing career right from the start of their training regime and can therefore not be ignored.

What Is An LPN?

An LPN, or licensed practical nurse (known as a licensed vocational nurse in some states such as California), is a nurse that works in a very practical, hands-on environment in a health care facility. Unlike RNs, who must train for about 4 years in order to become licensed as such, LPNs only need to train for around 2 years in order to receive licensing. LPNs are capable of performing many of a Registered Nurse’s duties, but there are limitations on their scope of practice. For example, they cannot give orders to most health care workers.

The hours for an LPN are strenuous. The job description officially claims that an LPN works an average of 40 hours a week.LPN Clinicals


  • LPNs often have put in extra hours on night shifts and weekends
  • Typically a skilled LPN may be required to work between 50 and 60 hours a week (which earns them base pay rate plus overtime)

The actual duties that LPNs perform can vary depending on who their employer is as well as on the level of education and experience they have attained thus far in their career.

What Is An LPN Clinical?

The job of an LPN is extremely hands-on and practical. This means that, in order to be sure that you are fully capable of doing this job, you need to do clinical or practical training during your studies. This will serve two purposes:

  • It will give you exposure to real-world working environments
  • It will allow your instructors to assess you and determine whether or not you can be said to have passed the course

The most important aspect of nursing that you will cover in an LPN clinical course is patient care. Initially you will be required to shadow a current and licensed LPN and observe the duties that they perform. As the practical course continues you will gradually begin to perform the clinical duties yourself under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse or, usually, a Registered Nurse with many years of experience who can direct you on the right path. There is also a fairly heavy concentration of administrative work in the average LPN job, so you will also be trained during your clinical in the following subjects:

  • Filling out paperwork
  • Writing down medical histories
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Tracking inventory and supplies

Reasons For Doing LPN Clinicals

It should be self-evident that there are a number of very compelling reasons for completing an LPN clinical course. Apart from the fact that it is required as part of the course and licensure rules, it will also help you achieve a higher level of confidence once it becomes time for you to work as a licensed LPN in an actual hospital setting in the future. The more clinical experience that you are able to gain during the training stages of your LPN career, the greater your expertise in the field will be once you are a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse, and the better your resume will look. In short you will be improving your employment opportunities in addition to improving your own knowledge and skill in the area of practical nursing. If you do not like the idea of hands-on experience you will need to find another career path as nursing is an extremely hands-on job. If you are not sure that you want to be a nurse, the LPN clinical training is the ideal way for you to get a feel for what you will do in a genuine hospital situation and help you make the decision regarding whether or not this line of work is for you.

Satisfy Program Requirements

The program that you will need to complete to be an LPN will require that you do an LPN clinical course in order to pass the program. This is a very important reason to do an LPN clinical, but it is not the most important. This is merely an administrative aspect of the Licensed Practical Nurse clinical. There are a number of practical reasons why you need to complete training in this regard in order to move forward with your nursing career as a skilled member of the health care profession and industry.

Experience Different Work Environments

Your LPN clinical course allows you to get a feel for different nursing environments and will make it easier for you to decide which of the following positions (after completing the necessary training) you may like to hold as an RN in the future:

  • Ambulatory Care Nurse
  • Camp Nurse
  • Cardiac Care Nurse
  • Case Management Nurse
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Correctional Facility Nurse
  • Critical Care Nurse
  • Dermatology Nurse
  • Developmental Disability Nurse
  • Diabetes Nurse
  • Domestic Violence Nurse
  • Emergency Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Flight/Transport Nurse
  • Forensic Nurse
  • Gastroenterology Nursing
  • Genetics Nurse
  • Geriatric Nurse
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Gynecology/Obstetrics Nurse
  • Health Policy Nurse
  • Hematology Nurse
  • HIV/AIDS Care Nurse
  • Home Health Care Nurse
  • Hospice Nurse
  • Independent Nurse Contractor
  • Infection Control Nurse
  • Informatics Nurse
  • Infusion Nurse
  • International Nurse
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse
  • Lactation Consultant
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Long-Term Care Nurse
  • Managed Care Nurse
  • Military Nurse
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
  • Nephrology Nurse
  • Neuroscience Nurse
  • Nurse Advocate
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Attorney
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Entrepreneur
  • Nurse Manager
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Researcher
  • Nursing Quality Improvement
  • Occupational Health Nurse
  • Oncology Nurse
  • Parish Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Perianesthesia Nurse
  • Perinatal Nurse
  • Perioperative Nurse
  • Poison Information Specialist
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Pulmonary Care Nurse
  • Radiology Nurse
  • Rehabilitation Nurse
  • Reproductive Nurse
  • Rheumatology Nurse
  • Rural Nurse
  • School Nurse
  • Substance Abuse Nurse
  • Surgical Nurse
  • Toxicology Nurse
  • Transplant Nurse
  • Trauma Nurse
  • Travel Nursing
  • Urologic Nurse
  • Wound and Ostomy Nurse

Gain Hands-On Experience

This is clearly the most important aspect of any nursing training course. It has been mentioned several times that you need to gain hands-on experience in order to be a successful and effective licensed practical nurse in the field. This hands-on experience can be gained in a number of different settings allowing you to develop a feel for what your options in the realm of nursing are. This is also the best way for your instructors to determine whether or not you are ready for a real life experience: if you show that you are competent during the LPN clinical training and that you can handle all of the demands of the job, they will be able to pass you and you will be one step closer to being a fully licensed LPN. The idea is that you have some concept of what you will need to do before you are thrown into a real nursing situation. There is no way that you can read a few textbooks and then expect to walk straight into a health care facility and know exactly what you need to do.

How Can I Be Prepared For A Clinical Course?

There are a few things that you can do before attending your very first LPN clinical day in order to make the whole experience easier and less daunting:

  • Firstly you need to be prepared. This means having all of the equipment with you that you may need on the first day, like a stethoscope. In addition it is a good idea to bring something to take notes with. The information that your instructor gives you during these clinical sessions may prove invaluable later on. Being prepared also means reading up on the basic skills that you may be asked to demonstrate on the first day and considering whether or not you will be able to perform those skills.
  • It is essential that you are always punctual, on your first day of clinical practice, and every other day after that. In addition punctuality is extremely important throughout a nursing career in general and therefore needs to be learned early on.
  • There will be a dress code for trainees at the particular facility where you do your Licensed Practical Nurse clinical. You should make sure that you know what you are expected to wear and adhere to it carefully.

Where Can I Get My Clinical Experience?

There are a number of different locations where you will be able to get your LPN clinical experience:

  • Hospitals
  • Your school
  • Hospices

Apart from the above there are other options, but these are the most common. Usually the school where you do your theoretical study will have facilities for practical work. These facilities will either be part of the school itself, or the school will have an agreement with a nearby health care facility that accepts trainee nurses and allows them to do their practical training in that setting. Some hospices offer similar internships. Usually these LPN clinicals are unpaid. If you choose to do your theory work online it will often be your responsibility to find a facility where you will be allowed to complete your clinical training. Essentially you can complete your LPN clinical training at any facility that offers internships to trainee nurses and where you will get hands-on experience in a practical patient care and administrative setting. Choosing facilities that have a better reputation and where you get more exposure to a wider variety of different nursing fields will be best as this will not only reflect well on your resume but will also provide you with more advanced opportunities.

The Problem With Online Training Schools

It should be obvious that online schools, although convenient and flexible, do come with one problem: they cannot provide LPN clinical training as there is no way in which you can complete such training online. It has to be done in a hands-on clinical setting where you will have actual exposure to actual patients. This is the situation where you may have to organize your own clinical internship, although the better online schools will provide you with a list of possibilities for completing your LPN clinical. Some schools that are not accredited will claim to offer a complete LPN training course online. This is however not possible for the aforementioned reasons, and such schools should be treated with deep suspicion and perhaps even struck form your list of consideration altogether. Without clinical training your degree will count for nothing and you will not be eligible to receive licensure through your state board of nursing until such time that you have completed a completely different LPN program from scratch including the appropriate clinical work.  You do not have remove online schools from consideration, but you do have to practice additional caution when considering these schools as a training option.

Consequently it is very important that you not only do your best when it comes to your LPN clinical training, but also that you think carefully about what training you would like to specialize in as well as the quality of the school or facility at which you receive your clinical training. There is no way for you to avoid this section of your studies. In fact, an attitude of avoidance or unhappiness in relation to LPN clinical training will not stand you in good stead and will be a burden to you during your LPN career.

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