If you are an LPN you may not be aware that there are a number of specialized programs for LPNs that you could benefit on. These are especially appropriate for those Licensed Practical Nurses who would like to focus on one particular area of nursing.
What Is A Specialized Program For LPNs?
A specialized nursing program for LPNs is essentially a brief training program or a longer degree that allows LPNs to advance to a higher level of nursing as well as to receive a higher rate of pay in their jobs. There are a number of popular areas that LPNs like to specialize in:
- Critical care
- Primary care
- Psychiatric/mental health
- Occupational health
- School nurses
To specialize in an area of nursing is to be an expert in that area. Your skills will be sought after and you will always be able to find employment in your chosen field.
Nature Of The Work/Duties
Cardiac nurses do the following:
- They work with patients who are suffering from heart conditions.
- Advanced knowledge of medical procedures and equipment related to heart issues is required.
Oncology nurses work with patients that either have cancer or who appear to be at risk for cancer. Specifically you will:
- Administer health care
- Educate and counsel people about screening
- Educate and counsel people about prevention
- Educate and counsel people about detection
Rehabilitation nurses nurse patients through an illness until they return to full health.
There are many other nursing specialties as well, each with differing duties included.
Employment options are many and varied for nurses that have a degree in a certain specialization. Doing a specialized program for LPNs can open up many doors for you in the employment sector. There are also many different places where you can work. Although many specialized nurses, such as critical care nurses, are employed in hospitals. There are also several other areas where you may end up working, for example, a nurse that specializes in correctional nursing will most likely be employed in a prison. A nurse that specializes in addiction could be employed at an addiction clinic. Nurses with a specialization in school nursing will obviously be seen most frequently in schools. Likewise, nurses with a specialization in hospice nursing will usually be employed in a hospice or hospice setting.
Requirements For Specialized LPN Programs
In order to enter specialized programs for LPNs you will need to:
- Have obtained an LPN qualification from an accredited school and written the necessary LPN exam known as the NCLEX-PN exam.
- Moved on from your LPN qualification and received an RN qualification. Also from an accredited school. Again you need to pass an exam. The RN exam is known as the NCLEX-RN.
- A number of specialization programs require that you first get a certain amount of experience in the area that you would like specialize in.
- You will then have to engage in any extra training that your chosen specialization needs. You may simply need to write a certification examination in order to be specialized in the field that you are interested in.
There are some subtle differences in the personality traits that are required for each of the various specializations that you will have the option of pursuing. For example if you would like to focus on being an LPN in an emergency care setting your primary personality requirement will be an ability to think on your feet and under pressure in order to provide the best care possible to your patient. If you want to work in critical care you will need to display and extremely high level of vigilance (so that you do not miss any important changes in the patient’s condition) and advocacy. A pediatric LPN needs to have an open personality and an ability to relate well on an interpersonal level with the children under her care as well as with the adults she works with.
Often you will be required to become an RN before you are allowed to enter into a specialized nursing program. This is not always the case and often LPNs are allowed to specialize. However it is advised that you attend an accelerated LPN to RN bridging course before choosing to specialize. Some colleges and schools that offer this level of education are:
Mohave Community College
3400 Highway 95
Bullhead City, AZ 86442
East Arkansas Community College
1700 Newcastle Road
Forrest City, AR
419 College Drive
Barnesville, GA 30204
For most specialized LPN programs you will need to have a high school certificate or an equivalent GED qualification before you can enter as well as having already graduated from an accredited LPN program.
There are different licensure rules for each of the specialties mentioned. For example, if you want to be an addictions nurse you simply have to become an RN and work in that field. But if you want to be registered as an addictions nurse there is a special exam that you can take in order to receive licensure. Other specialties have even stricter rules. In a lot of cases licensure depends largely on the rules of the state board of nursing for your state. These can differ significantly from state to state. In addition employers of specialized nurses may require different levels of education and licensing and so before they will hire you. All of these things must be taken into account when considering licensure.
How To Become A Specialized Nurse
Training, Advancement And Other Qualifications
Many specialized nursing programs for LPNs do not require further educational training and merely expect you to get experience and then sit a certification examination. However there are two areas of specialized nursing that do require additional and specialized training:
For Anesthesia you will have to first become an RN before you can become a Certified Registered Nurse of Anesthesia. The program is unique and not covered in any other coursework and it will take around 2-3 years fulltime to complete.
A midwifery specialization will also take 2 to 3 years to complete and at the end of it you will be able to practice independently of obstetric physicians and without the need for supervision. It is a very hands-on program.
Source An Accredited Education Program
It is essential that when you enter an LPN to RN specialization program or when you do additional training in order to become a specialized nurse that you carefully take the time to look into the various schools that you will have the opportunity to attend. You must ensure that the school that you attend is properly accredited. If you are unsure about whether or not it is accredited you should contact your state board of nursing to find out. The state board of nursing website will probably have a list of nursing schools that are in fact accredited and that will be a good choice for you to consider as you look for the best program to attend in order to become a specialized nurse.
Earn Your Associate’s Degree
To specialize in a certain nursing field you will first have to become an RN. The best way to do this is by earning an associate’s degree in nursing. In some cases you can earn an associate’s degree that will allow you to focus on the area of nursing that you would like to ultimately specialize in. This is the route that you should take. It may be even more beneficial for you to choose to get a bachelor’s degree as this advanced qualification will open even more doors for you. You needn’t stop there. You could even get a master’s degree in nursing. However to specialize, you need to remember that an associate’s degree is the minimum requirement.
Obtain Your Licensure
There tend to be a number of different licensing rules and laws depending on the exact specialized LPN program that you plan to take as well as a variety of other factors, such as the state that you want to qualify in and the level of education that you need before you can obtain licensure. There are often also age requirements involved in some states. The important thing is that you look carefully into everything that is required in obtaining your RN license and then your license to specialize (if one is required for your particular specialization) before you embark on the journey to become a specialized nurse. This will save you time in the long run and be far less frustrating than if you go in blind.
Online/Distance Education Programs
Most of the specialized programs mentioned here cannot be completed online or through distance education. The anesthesia and midwifery qualifications in particular require a high degree of practical and hands-on experience as they are complex topics that are not covered in enough detail in general nursing training programs. There is, in short, no chance at all that you will be able to study online if you are seeking specialization in either of those two topics. However there may be online options for some of the less intense specializations that do not require additional education. Remember, however, that with any nursing qualification you will be unable to escape the practical side of the course as hand-son clinical experience is always a requirement if you want to be certified.
Because there are a number of different nursing specialization fields that you can enter into there are slightly different job outlooks for each. Take specialization in oncology, for example:
- The rate of growth in this industry is expected to be in the region of 22% between 2008 and 2018. This is faster than average for all careers (most career in the medical field grow at a faster than average rate).
- Most RNs work in hospitals while some others work in health care facilities or physician’s offices.
However with a specialization you will be in high demand and there will always be a job for you to have. The above statistics are an overall look at the RN profession in general. A specialization in oncology will improve your chances further.
The salary for an LPN that has completed an RN qualification and that has worked towards getting a specialization in one of the many specialist fields that are available to them will be at the higher end of the RN pay scale which is something in the region of $47,132-$85,575 annually. One of the main reasons nurses choose to specialize is because of the huge advantage in salary that a specialization brings. You will be in higher demand and you will be paid more. However remember that as your skills are specialized you will not always be considered for general LPN or RN jobs so you need to decide whether or not you want to limit your earning potential in this way and to this degree.
As you can see there are a number of excellent opportunities available for licensed practical nurses who would like to specialize in a certain field. In addition the specialized programs for LPNs can make a very significant difference to your career moving forward and can open a number of doors for you that you may not have had access to otherwise. You will also be in a position to earn considerably more money while focusing on an area of the health care industry that you love or that you find more interesting than other areas.