Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide nursing care. They may work as part of a team, taking direction from doctors or registered nurses. They can also make certain nursing decisions on their own. This group includes operating room technicians, who are LPNs with additional training.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a licensed practical nurse is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 4,500
Licensed practical nurses:
Operating room technicians:
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) may work in hospitals, long-term care homes, doctors’ offices, clinics, extended care facilities, acute care centres, community hospices or private homes. They usually work eight- to 12-hour shifts on rotation, including weekends, evenings and holidays.
LPNs can be exposed to infectious diseases, radiation and chemicals, so they must follow strict rules to prevent infection and injury. They can become fatigued from long shifts and lengthy periods of standing and walking. They may get back injuries from lifting or moving patients, although electric beds and lifts have greatly reduced this risk. They may also have to deal with violent patients.
In addition, LPNs must cope with the emotional aspects of working with the sick, injured and terminally ill, as well as with patients’ families.
Source: 2016 Census
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must:
Operating room technicians must also train in operating room techniques. In addition, they may need immunization certification and leadership training.
All LPNs must keep up to date with advances in medicine. This includes computer-based chart management systems and other new technologies used to diagnose and monitor patients.
LPNs who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) for details on how to apply for certification in B.C. This applies whether you were trained in Canada or internationally. Internationally educated nurses must first apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) before applying for registration with the BCCNM.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
B.C. faces a shortage of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and too few new graduates to fill the demand. As the province’s population grows and ages, this demand is increasing.
Demand is greatest in areas with many extended care and long-term care facilities and larger acute care hospitals. Specialty areas, such as emergency and pediatric wards and operating rooms, will also have high demand. LPNs with more education, like an immunization certification course or a leadership post-certificate course, tend to have especially good job prospects.
In recent years, the scope of LPNs’ duties has expanded. Their work now includes areas such as mental health, community and pharmacology studies.
Some people work as health-care aides before becoming licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
Once licensed, LPNs can broaden their options through additional training and experience. Some LPNs become operating room technicians. Others specialize in areas such as emergency care, intensive care, maternity, pediatrics or community health. LPNs with experience in specialty areas may choose self-employment, offering services such as foot care, health consultation, or skin and wound care.
LPNs with the Provincial Instructor Diploma can work in colleges that teach home support, resident care attendants and practical nurses. With leadership training, LPNs may move into management roles such as director of care, site leader, shift co-ordinator or supervisor of unregulated care providers. LPNs can also study to become registered nurses.
Educational bridging programs make it easier for workers to advance to higher-level positions. Bridging allows resident care aides to take a shorter practical nursing program. Bridging also offers LPNs a one-year advanced credit for bachelor of nursing programs.