Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Kansas
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) assists patients and other medical professionals with day-to-day tasks. These can include administering medications, caring for wounds, dressing and bathing for patients, and keeping detailed patient records for Registered Nurses and doctors. Many LPNs work in specialized areas of medicine by receiving additional certifications, such as patient counseling, while others prefer to remain generalists.
Receiving Your License
The first step to becoming an LPN is to obtain your high school diploma or GED. Then, you may enroll in a professional and accredited training program. These programs prepare students to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which they must pass before submitting an application to the state Board. Applications include a criminal background check and fingerprinting.
Licensed Practical Nurses who received their license in one of 24 other states may practice in Kansas without applying for a new license. If your license is from a state outside of this agreement, you must reapply and submit official transcripts, a fingerprint card, a criminal background check, verification of licensure and evidence of an approved refresher course, if necessary.
Kansas’s licenses expire every two years. Licensed Practical Nurses must show evidence of at least 30 hours of continuing education during each renewal period to keep their license current.
Licensed Practical Nurses may continue their education by taking certificate courses in specific areas of medicine, such as IV therapy, long-term care, pharmacology or hospice. These certifications are not required, but they may give applicants a competitive advantage when applying for jobs or the opportunity to earn their Registered Nurse credentials more quickly.
Educational Programs in Kansas
Most LPN education programs take just one year to complete. Some ask that students take the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, as part of the application process. Students in Kansas can consider the following programs:
- Johnson Community College. Johnson Community College’s healthcare simulation center recreates actual medical settings to help students learn. The school provides a bridge program to help LPNs become Registered Nurses, if desired.
- Hutchinson Community College. Hutchinson Community College offers full-time and part-time programs in Practical Nursing. Students receive training both on campus and at partner health centers in the community.
Career and Salary Outlook
The Projections Managing Partnership predicts that the number of jobs for Licensed Practical Nurses in Kansas will remain relatively stable during the 10 years from 2016 to 2026, with just a 0.7 percent drop anticipated. Salaries for LPNs in the state average $42,260 per year.
Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools and nursing homes. These fast-paced environments require LPNs to interact with patients each day, and strong communication skills, empathy and attention to detail are essential. Jobs are typically most abundant in urban areas, such as Topeka, and the higher salaries offered there match the higher cost of living.