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Interested in Practical Nursing? Here’s Some Advice from an Experienced Practical Nursing Educator

September 7, 2021

Interested in Practical Nursing Here’s Some Advice from an Experienced Practical Nursing EducatorMany students choose to enter the medical field by becoming nurses. If you’re considering a career in nursing, there are various options to choose from. One of the most popular career paths is becoming a practical nurse or licensed practical nurse (LPN). But what exactly does a practical nurse do and how can someone without any healthcare experience become one?


Practical nurses support patients by providing basic nursing and medical care. Due to the nature of patient care, practical nurses perform many duties depending on where they choose to work. In order to better explain this essential profession and it’s career path, we interviewed Karen Fuss-Sommer, the Dean of Nursing and an experienced Practical Nursing instructor at Carrington College in Albuquerque.


Can you please tell us a little about your professional background and role at Carrington College?

I am currently the Dean of Nursing overseeing both the Associate Degree in Nursing and the Practical Nursing programs. I have been a nurse educator for 30 years and have taught in PN, A.D.N and BSN programs. My administrative experience includes program director of a PN program, assistant dean of undergraduate and dean of nursing.


What inspired you to get into healthcare?

Growing up my mother was a nurse and I saw what an impact she had on individuals’ lives. I wanted to have a similar impact, so I became a nurse.


Do you see a lot of growth in your industry?

Absolutely, the health care industry is growing and the demand for nurses is increasing.


Why are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) an important part of the modern healthcare system?

PN’s provide an essential element to the care of patients. Their expertise in bedside care and performing patient care is essential to positive outcomes for patients.


How does the Practical Nursing program in Albuquerque prepare students for a career in healthcare?

The PN program in Albuquerque provides students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to excel at the bedside with patients. The program imparts confidence to the students that they can manage the complexities of the health care setting.


What are the employment options for students once they complete the program?

Employment opportunities include long term care facilities, doctor offices, and clinics with limited access to hospitals.


What are some of the responsibilities of an LPN?

The responsibilities of a practical nurse include direct patient care, medicating patients, and treatments (i.e., wound care and suctioning).


What are some of the benefits of being an LPN?

The benefits of being an LPN include the educational path is shorter for an LPN, the ability to find work quickly, and meeting an individual’s goal to become a nurse.


How would you describe the typical student that enters the program?

I am unable to describe the typical student, as we have admitted one class. We are hoping to attract that student who does not have two years to commit to an A.D.N program but still desires to be a nurse. We also need students who are committed to helping others and have a desire to work hard.


Any advice for potential students looking to pursue a career in nursing?

In the 35 years or so that I have been a nurse, I have never regretted a day that I made that choice. Advice I could give to aspiring nurses would be to enjoy the ride. A nursing career can be very bumpy, but the benefits of helping people and the impact you make in their life far outweighs any discomfort from a bad day.


Unlike many careers where there is one set path to success, nursing is a career where you can become successful at many different levels. Learn more about the different levels of nursing and how to become a nurse, or simply learn more about the Practical Nursing program at Carrington College in Albuquerque.

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