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Carrington College Blog

Practical Nursing Instructor has a Passion For seeing Her Students Become Excellent Nurses

June 15, 2020
Practical Nursing Students

The Practical Nursing (PN) program at Carrington College in Boise offers students a path toward beginning work in the medical field quickly, with a certificate of achievement in as little as one year. The program also offers an option to bridge to an associate level registered nurse (RN), which students can in turn bridge to a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

The PN instructional program has clinical work built in; students begin clinicals during week three of their first term and continue through the duration of the program.

PN students can experience a variety of on-site clinical work, too.

“Students generally start at a long-term facility, to learn bedside care and how to speak with patients, and then progress up,” explains Lee Varga, Dean of Nursing. “During second term, students do clinical work in obstetrics, pediatrics, and mental health; during the third term preceptorship, students are paired with a nurse, where they work 200 clinical hours at the same facility.”

The third term also guides students toward where they want to be—some are in hospitals, home health, or hospice.

PN graduates will have the skills to:

  • Implement the nursing process in providing care for patients in a variety
    of clinical settings. This can include devising patient care plans, starting intravenous drips, and dispensing certain types of medication.
  • Demonstrate academic preparedness to take the NCLEX-PN examination for licensure as a practical nurse
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking
  • Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively, communicate clearly, and act professionally

After passing the licensure exam, LPNs are ready to be hired in a variety of areas from a specialty clinic to some hospital settings right out of school; those working in a specialized field receive continued training on the job.

The job outlook for LPNs is particularly good, due to an increased need for nurses to accommodate caring for the aging baby boomer generation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the median pay for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses is $47,480 per year* (as of May, 2019). The site also reports that, “Employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

After working for 16 weeks as a LPN, a student can return to Carrington to complete the bridge program, taking them from an LPN to an Associate Degree prepared Registered Nurse. During enrollment in the Registered Nursing program, a student can begin dual enrollment to complete their Bachelors in Nursing (BSN).

“Continuing your education to attain a BSN allows you to work in hospital and makes you a more well-rounded nurse,” Lee explains. “A bachelor’s degree doubles your options as to where you can work.”

Lee has been at Carrington College in Boise for five years, as an instructor and now also as Dean. She began her career after earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing and working as a pediatric nurse at a Denver Children’s Hospital. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Nursing Education, which allowed her to teach in a variety of different hospitals and emergency rooms throughout the United States.

“My passion is seeing students become excellent nurses,” Lee says, “Not only in their clinical judgement skills but also their professionalism, ethics, and creating lifelong learners” she says.

*For detailed regional information please visit

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