Licensed Practical Nurses

(NOC 3233)

in All Health

Licensed practical nurses provide nursing care usually under the direction of medical practitioners, registered nurses, or other health team members. Operating room technicians prepare patients and help medical practitioners prior to and during surgery. They work for hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, doctors' offices, clinics, companies, private homes, and community health centres. Operating room technicians work in hospitals.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Decline employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 60 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The demand for licenced practical nurses (LPNs), which was already strong, has increased because of the pandemic. Amid outbreaks in long-term care homes, shortage conditions emerged as some LPNs were compelled to self-isolate. There have been reports of burnout as remaining staff were required to cover absent coworkers’ shifts and manage additional tasks and stress associated with treating COVID-19 patients. Some LPNs are employed at multiple long-term care facilities and hospitals. During outbreaks, the intention is to limit this practice as much as possible to avoid spreading COVID-19 between facilities. Having LPNs employed exclusively at one facility increases the number of workers needed, worsening the existing shortage. In addition to an increased workload and change in tasks, some LPNs experienced impacts on their personal life because of the pandemic. Many chose to isolate from their household to avoid passing the virus from their workplace to family members. Some LPNs contracted COVID-19 because of workplace exposure. Some private online contact centres (unrelated to the provincial public health system) have been hiring LPNs remotely to staff telehealth services.

Prior to the pandemic, demand for LPNs was already strong. Jobseekers in this occupation should have little difficulty finding employment. The range of duties of LPNs has expanded amid constraints on healthcare and long-term care budgets as well as shortages of other types of health practitioners. Many unionized LPNs were awarded a 12% retroactive wage increase because of having performed tasks above their pay grade for several years. While most LPNs are employed in hospitals, collaborative care clinics and long-term care tend to account for a large portion of job opportunities.

The median employment income for the 58% of Licensed Practical Nurses who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $52,844. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$21.75

Minimum

$25.13

Median

$26.89

Maximum

Annual Pay

$20,753

Minimum

$48,961

Median

$59,834

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Licensed practical nurses provide nursing care usually under the direction of medical practitioners, registered nurses, or other health team members. Operating room technicians prepare patients and help medical practitioners prior to and during surgery. They work for hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, doctors' offices, clinics, companies, private homes, and community health centres. Operating room technicians work in hospitals.

Job duties

Licensed practical nurses:

  • Provide nursing services to patients based on patient assessment and care planning procedures.
  • Complete nursing interventions like taking vital signs, applying aseptic techniques including sterile dressing, ensuring infection control, monitoring nutritional intake and conducting specimen collection.
  • Administer medication and observe and document therapeutic effects.
  • Provide pre-operative and post-operative personal and comfort care.
  • Monitor established respiratory therapy and intravenous therapy.
  • Monitor patients, evaluate effectiveness of nursing interventions, and consult with appropriate members of healthcare team.
  • Provide safety and health education to individuals and their families.

Operating room technicians:

  • Prepare patients for surgery by washing, shaving, and sterilizing the patients' operative areas.
  • Help in surgery by laying out instruments, setting up equipment, helping surgical teams with gowns and gloves and passing instruments to surgeons.
  • Clean and sterilize the operating room and instruments.

Sample job titles

  • certified nursing assistant (CNA)
  • graduate nursing assistant
  • licensed nursing assistant
  • licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.)
  • operating room technician
  • registered nursing assistant (R.N.A.)
  • registered practical nurse (R.P.N.)
  • surgical assistant, nursing
  • surgical technician - nursing

Skills

Individuals entering this profession should enjoy caring for people of all ages. Good communication skills and interpersonal skills are also very important. Physical demands include moving and lifting others, and spending long periods of time on one's feet. LPNs must be able to cope with stress and occasional emergency situations.

Job requirements

  • A vocational, college, or other approved program for licensed practical nurses is required.
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required in Nova Scotia.
  • Completion of the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination is required in Nova Scotia.
  • Operating room technicians require either additional academic training in operating room techniques or on-the-job training.

Other considerations

Shift-work is typical in this profession. Changes in the healthcare delivery system in Nova Scotia may affect job opportunities in these jobs as well as the location and type of workplace employing these workers. Growth will occur in other healthcare organizations that provide community-based healthcare and home care.

By the numbers

Quick look

2,900

employed in 2016

77.2%

employed full-time

1.2%

self employed

93.3%
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6.7%
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43.6

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

31.3%

Halifax

24.6%

Cape Breton

17.4%

North Shore

13.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

97.6%

Health care and social assistance

0.9%

Public administration

0.4%

Other services (except public administration)

0.4%

Construction

0.4%

Retail trade

What is the age of Employment?

27.0%

35-44

24.0%

25-34

23.0%

45-54

21.0%

55-64

3.0%

15-24

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

78.1%

College Diploma

$49,603 median annual income
9.3%

Bachelor

$46,156 median annual income
7.2%

Apprenticeship

$43,674 median annual income
3.3%

Diploma Below Bachelor

$48,755 median annual income
1.7%

High school

$34,713 median annual income

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Licensed Practical Nurse Training (LPN, LVN, Cert., Dipl., AAS)

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to help provide general nursing care under the direction of a registered nurse, physician or dentist. They include courses in taking patient vital signs, applying sterile dressings, patient health education and assistance with examinations and treatment.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

Middleton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

Springhill, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

Yarmouth, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

Kentville, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

Bridgewater, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

Stellarton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

Port Hawkesbury, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

Sydney, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

Truro, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Licenced Practical Nurse

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Nursing
300 - 120 Western Parkway
Bedford, NS B4B 0V2
(833) 267-6726
(902) 377-5188

Contacts

Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS
Nova Scotia Nurses Union
Dartmouth, NS