Frequently Asked Questions About Licensed Practical Nurses


Are you thinking about becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)? In today’s new world dynamic, healthcare and medical workers are in extremely high demand – which means that Licensed Practical Nurses are too.

If you’re thinking about pursuing this career path and becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the role including some of the most frequently asked questions about the profession and industry. 

What Is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

Healthcare colleagues standing outside hospital, full length frequently asked questions licensed practical nurse

Before we start with the rest of the questions, the foundational understanding of what a Licensed Practical Nurse is must be built.

Generally speaking, a Licensed Practical Nurse is a professional healthcare worker whose primary goal is to care for and attend to patients based on their assessments and care planning procedures.

On the field, Licensed Practical Nurses work and collaborate with a number of other healthcare professionals including Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physicians, Social Workers, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that patient care is delivered up to standards.

While Licensed Practical Nurses oftentimes work under the direction of other healthcare professionals, they have the competency to make their own nursing judgements and are responsible for their own nursing actions.

What Do Licensed Practical Nurses Do and Who Is Suited for This Role?

Licensed Practical Nurses care for patients and clients across all stages of life from newborns and pre- and post-partum patients to toddlers and young children to seniors and the elderly.

Customarily, Licensed Practical Nurses are responsible for engaging in nursing interventions like taking vital signs, applying aseptic techniques, carrying out infection control, monitoring patient food intake, collecting specimens, and administering medication. The variety of their tasks and responsibilities exhibits how nurses need to be able to multi-task and manage high levels of stress related to life-threatening situations and medical conditions.

 In addition to the typical nursing inventions that they are tasked with, Licensed Practical Nurses also provide personal and comfort care to their patients before and after they undergo operations – which demonstrates a need for compassion and empathy on the nurses’ behalf.

Another important facet of a Licensed Practical Nurses’ duty includes monitoring their patients’ progress, evaluating the effectiveness of the applied interventions, and communication with other members of the healthcare team.

All of these interventions and responsibilities that Licensed Practical Nurses are tasked with are carried out for the purpose of: promoting, maintaining, and restoring the health of their patients, with a focus on clients with stable or predictable states or health; or, preventing, treating, and palliating of illness and injury, with a focus on stable or predictable disorders and conditions. 

licensed practical nurse or health care assistant helping elderly man in wheelchair wearing mask

Where Do Licensed Practical Nurses Work?

Since Licensed Practical Nurses care for patients from all walks of life, they can be found working at a variety of different healthcare facilities. Some examples of where they can be found working at include hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, clinics, extended care facilities, private residences, rehabilitation centers, community agencies, primary care clinics, and more.

What is the Difference Between Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses?

One of the most frequently asked questions is what the difference between Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) is. The skills that LPNs can do, do not vary a whole lot from that of an RN. The main difference is that LPNS care for patients who have stable and predictable outcomes, whereas RNs can care for those who have unstable and non-predictable outcomes. This is why you do not often see LPNs in places such as the ICU because these patients are unstable and unpredictable.

Is There a Demand for Licensed Practical Nurses?

In today’s changing times, there is an even greater demand for Licensed Practical Nurses than there ever was before. In fact, the industry right now is facing a shortage of healthcare workers so many more are needed to attend to the demand there is.

Moreover, Licensed Practical Nurses are considered to be a high opportunity occupation according to WorkBC, which means that the role is expected to experience higher demand and offer higher pay compared to other occupations. To learn more about high opportunity occupations, please visit our blog here.

How Much Salary Do Licensed Practical Nurses Earn?

For Licensed Practical Nurses in British Columbia, the annual provincial median salary is $57,750, but can go as high as $62,568 and more.

How Do I Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?

The field of nursing is regulated in British Columbia by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM). The BCCNM is the organization that protects the public by regulating nursing professionals, setting standards of practice, assessing nursing education programs, and addressing complaints about registrants.

To become a Licensed Practical Nurse in BC, you need to complete and pass a qualifying Practical Nursing (PN) Program recognized by the BCCNM. After completing a Practical Nursing Program, you must also take and pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE). Once you’ve passed the CPNRE exam, you then become a Licensed Practical Nurse. 

Why Should I Choose Sprott Shaw for my Practical Nursing Training?

practical nurse typing on laptop in scrubs and smiling

In addition to being one of the recognized institutions for practical nursing training by the BCCNM, Sprott Shaw’s Practical Nursing Program also includes CPNRE licensing exam preparation and study guides at no additional charge. Throughout the Practical Nursing Program, you’ll also receive training and certificates for First-Aid Basic Life Support (BLS), FOODSAFE, and Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI).

Hands-on work experience before graduation is always important and helpful in preparing for the industry ahead. That’s why our Practical Nursing Program also includes preceptorship, clinical, and practicum opportunities for our students with health authorities across BC including Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health Authority, Island Health, Northern Health, and Interior Health Authority.

And if that wasn’t enough, students who take our Practical Nursing Program have the opportunity to also earn their bachelor’s degree afterwards. Sprott Shaw students are eligible to apply Langara College’s Advanced Entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program and Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Nursing (Post-LPN) Program. For more information on these career advancement opportunities, contact one of our advisors here.

Still have questions or want to learn more? Fill out the form here to have one of our advisors contact you.


You can also learn more about other programs and career paths from our Frequently Asked Questions segment here.

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