How to Become an LPN in Montana
Nursing is a very demanding profession, both physically and emotionally, but it is also a very rewarding profession. Anyone who wants to be a nurse must possess the strong desire to care for men, women and children with varying degrees and level of injury and illness.
To take on the challenge of nursing school and an eventual position in a health care facility, that person has to be at a particular level of fitness and have the necessary mental and ethical abilities to care for patients in a safe and effective manner.
Critical thinking skills and maturity is also necessary to be able to deal with multiple and often times conflicting bureaucratic and patient demands. Nursing candidates must also have flawless moral character to always safeguard patient property and information and controlled substances.
The Education Process
Nursing student applicants are subject to a criminal background check and must complete a fingerprint card and mandatory drug test. Applicants must also provide evidence of a recent TB test, Hepatitis B vaccine and two measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations for applicants born after 1957 and a booster for students born before 1957 before being allowed to participate in the clinical portion of the program.
Students who wish to enroll in an LPN program in Montana must meet the entrance requirements for the school of choice. Typical requirements include the student being at least 18 years of age and be a high school graduate or hold an equivalency certificate. LPN schools and programs in Montana include classes focused on patient and medical care and students can expect to take classes such as nursing fundamentals, anatomy, physiology, biology, microbiology and introduction to pharmacology. Other classes include communications, medical terminology, contemporary health issues and medical administrative procedures. Students will also participate in on hands on clinical care in a functioning medical facility such as a hospital or other care related facility.
The Licensing Process
An LPN candidate must receive a passing grade in a one to two year nursing program at an accredited nursing school, pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Licensed Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) exam and obtain a CPR card in order to become licensed.
LPNs are required to renew their licenses every two years and must accrue 24 contact hours of continuing education as a condition to renew their license. All LPN licenses are up for renewal on 31 December of even numbered years. Renewal applications postmarked after the 31 December date will be subject to additional fees.
Upon successful completion of an accredited LPN program, the student must register with Pearson VUE, the NCLEX-PN examination providers. There is a fee due to Pearson to take the exam as well as a fee due to the Montana Board of Nursing to file an application to take the exam. Pearson VUE has a testing site in Billings and Helena, but they will work with each exam candidate to arrange examinations at a site most convenient for the student.
The educational facilities in Montana offering LPN programs enjoy an NCLEX-PN pass rate between 95 and 100%, well above the national average, for the first time exam takers.
Salaries and the Future of LPNs
LPN salaries in Montana range from $33K to $85K depending on the number of years of experience and area of care or specialty, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Montana LPN job outlook remains healthy as demand continues to challenge supply. LPN’s will continue to find employment with better than competitive salaries and increased benefits. The nursing profession is on track to increase about 22% through 2020, quicker than the average for all occupations.
Duties of an LPN
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Montana typically works under the direction of a registered nurse, nurse practitioner or physician. To become an LPN requires a combination of class work and practical, clinical care instruction. LPN’s find employment in hospitals, clinics, long and short term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted care facilities, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centers, home health care organizations and other health care facilities. There are more than 2,900 LPN’s in the state of Montana and that number accounts for 25% of the nursing force.
LPN job duties include basic patient care, taking vital signs such as weight, temperature and blood pressure, basic would care, taking medical histories, evaluate patients for preliminary care, dispensing medications and injections prescribed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. LPN’s also monitor fluid and food intake, assess patient reactions to medications and work with families and explain ongoing patient treatment and release care instructions. LPN’s sometimes supervise the certified nursing assistants. The actual duties involved will vary with the type of health care facility and level of care offered.
LPN Schools in Montana
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Approved Montana LPN Training Programs
504 SE Boundary St.
Browning, Montana 58417
(406) 338‐5441, ext. 2313
3803 Central Ave
Billings, Montana 59102
777 Grandview Dr.
Kalispell, Montana 59901
2100 16th Ave South
Great Falls, Montana 59405
1115 North Roberts St.
Helena, Montana 59601
909 South Avenue West
Missoula, Montana 59801