If your ambition is to provide care for others, then a Practical Nurse (PN) course may be just what you are looking for. As a licensed PN, you will work under a Registered Nurse (RN) and be responsible for providing primary nursing care to patients. Admission requirements are not onerous. Apart from a clean record, all you need is a high school diploma or GED and to complete an informal interview.
Various course options are available including full-time and part-time study. Once licensed as a practical nurse, there are numerous job opportunities available, allowing you to choose a career that suits your personal circumstances and interests.
Practical Nursing as a Career
A practical nurse provides basic nursing care to patients. This rewarding career means that you are a primary caregiver dealing with patients' needs on a day-to-day basis. In hospitals, you work under the direction of a RN, and are deployed in maternity wards, operating theaters and emergency rooms. Working in a hospital provides excellent opportunities to learn different nursing skills and obtain relevant experience.
Apart from hospital work, PNs are employed in doctors’ and physicians' offices, in frail care nursing facilities and with home care health services.
Practical nurse jobs are relatively well-paid. Naturally, the pay rate depends on where you work, what your hours are and your experience. It's worth noting that practical nurses working in large hospitals usually earn more than those working elsewhere.
The average salary for a licensed PN is $42,400 and the range is from $32,000 to around $57,000. Naturally, you shouldn't expect to earn this straight away, although many graduates earn up to $25 per hour.
Numerous job opportunities exist for practical nurses, including:
- Hospitals: Starting salaries are good and you will earn more if you like working under pressure in the OR and emergency rooms.
- Nursing homes: Providing care for the elderly, salaries are slightly lower, but work is rewarding
- Physicians' offices: As a physician's nurse you will work normal hours.
How to Study for Qualification as a Practical Nurse
The PN course can be taken full-time or part-time in evenings. If you attend full-time, the course normally takes one year to complete. If you choose to study part-time, then expect it to take 18 months. Course work covers the basics of anatomy and physiology as well as nursing fundamentals. Subjects covered include pharmacology, IV therapy, medical and surgical nursing, obstetrics and pediatrics.
Once you have completed, you have to register with the State Board of Nursing in your state and take the examination to obtain your license.
Taking the Next Step
If you believe that caring for people is your calling, then becoming a practical nurse is a great way to start. And once you qualify, there are many well paid opportunities for practical nurses. Additionally, if you feel that nursing is your vocation, it's possible to study further to become a RN. To find out more about becoming a practical nurse, contact our admissions office.