How to Broaden the Scope of Your Practice Using LPN Certifications
You’re on your way to becoming an LPN, or you’ve been an LPN for a bit you may be concerned on the seemingly narrow focus of an LPN’s scope of practice. Currently, though, you are not ready to take the big step of continuing on for your RN. Luckily there is one way to broaden your scope of practice without the added hassle of extended schooling: Certification.
LPN Certifications provide a quick, and relatively cheap, way to enlarge your scope of practice and increase your marketability. They let others know that you have been trained and tested to perform specialized tasks. Certification opportunities can be found at your healthcare facility, online, and through different nursing associations. There are fees involved, your certification will only last a certain period of time, re-certification will cost money and to be certified and re-certified you will have to pass certain requirements. Requirements can be as simple as being hired (BLS) to having certain degrees and hours of work in the chosen field.
One LPN certification you already hold is Basic Life Support (BLS), a requirement to work at any level of healthcare from secretaries and janitors to nurses and physicians. From there is an easy step to obtain either your ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) or PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). Most healthcare facilities offer these certifications, and sometimes others as well.
The two national LPN associations – NAPNES and NFLPN – offer certifications that apply to LPNs in any specialty.
NAPNES (National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Services, Inc.) offers certifications in pharmacology and long term care. All their certifications can be applied and tested for online. Certification last for five years. Upon re-certifying you will be asked to either retest or provide proof of various items – including at least 1500 hours worked in medicinal administration and a certain amount of CEUs (Continuing Education Units). Original certification is $100 plus $60 for the test. Re-certification will be $150.
NFLPN (National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses) also offers two certifications – IV therapy and gerontology. Both are available only through proctored testing (meaning you will need to have someone willing to administer the test for to you on behalf of the NFLPN). Both certifications last for 2 years before they need to be renewed. Original certifications cost $200 for non-members and $150 for members. Re-certifications cost $125 for everyone, plus proof of 20 CEUs in the field of certification.
Obtaining certification is a great way to expand your scope of practice easily and more cheaply than continuing on to another degree. There are many types of certifications available in many specialties. Certifications also increase your marketability as an LPN. NAPNES, NFLPN and AMH (American Heart Association) offer the best places for you to start looking. Below you will also find a list of some of the other certifications available.
Other Certifications Available for LPNs:
- DDNA (Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association) – care of developmentally disabled patients
- Prepared Childbirth Educators, INC. – Breastfeeding Counselor, Childbirth Educator, Infant Massage Instructor, Labor Doula, and Prenatal/Postnatal Fitness Instructor
- NBCHPN (National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses) – hospice
- ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) – For those interesting in conducting research
- NCCHC (National Commission on Correctional Health Care) – For working in Correctional Facilities
- BONENT (Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology) – For Hemodialysis
- CCI (Cardiovascular Credentialing International) – Various specialties in Cardiology
- Healing Touch Program – For energetic therapy modality of Healing Touch
- SUNA (Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates) – For urology specialties