Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can pursue different specialties within their nursing career including long term care, pharmacology and intravenous therapy. As licensed nurses, LPNS take vitals, prepare and administer injections, monitor medical equipment and dress wounds as part of their duties. Surgical LPNs assist registered nurses (RNs) with perioperative patient care by acting as a scrub nurse or circulating nurse during surgical procedures. With training and on the job experience in medical surgical nursing, a LPN can have a rewarding surgical career.
Complete your LPN training though an academic program approved by your state Board of Nursing. These programs can frequently be found in your local vocational school, community or junior college. LPN training can be completed within one year and will be a combination of classroom learning and clinical site experience.
Take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to acquire your LPN license. The results of this exam, given by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, will be sent to your state board to issue your license. For information about the exam, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing at https://www.ncsbn.org/1213.htm.
Enroll is a surgical technology allied health program or seek perioperative nursing training through your allied health employer, if available. There are several ways to acquire training in surgical nursing. You may opt for a continuing education program for current licensed LPNs, like the Scrub Nurse offering from Germanna Community College. For a comprehensive listing of training programs, schools and hospitals offering training for nurses looking to enter perioperative or surgical nursing, visit the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) website at http://www.aorn.org/Education/EducationResources/PeriopNursingCourseDirectory/.
Apply for surgical nursing roles within your professional facility. If you currently work for a hospital, university or allied health system, consult your manager and your human resources department about employment. An LPN with perioperative experience can perform a number of roles under the supervision of an RN. Inquire about circulating nurse or surgical scrub nurse roles to gain practical experience in the operating room.
Join a professional organization to stay abreast of continuing education and career development opportunities. AORN features associate memberships for individuals who are not registered nurses. The professional association is a great resource for LPNs looking to build a career in this special field.
2016 Salary Information for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a median annual salary of $44,090 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a 25th percentile salary of $37,040, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $51,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 724,500 people were employed in the U.S. as licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses.