Licensed Practical Nurses

Occupation:Licensed Practical Nurses

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 are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, doctors' offices, clinics, companies, private homes and community health centres. Operating room technicians are employed in hospitals.

Job duties:
Licensed practical nurses perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Provide nursing services, within defined scope of practice, to patients based on patient assessment and care planning procedures.
  • Perform nursing interventions such as 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' progress, 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 perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Prepare patients for surgery by washing, shaving and sterilizing the patients' operative areas.
  • Assist in surgery by laying out instruments, setting up equipment, assisting 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

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:
  • Completion of 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 establishment employing these workers. Growth will occur in other healthcare organizations involved in the provision of community-based healthcare and home care.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Licensed Practical Nurses most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

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

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Licensed Practical Nurses2,660Weak growth150Moderate
Minimum: $22.00
Median: $24.59
Maximum: $26.00
Minimum: $20,753
Median: $48,961
Maximum: $59,834
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Licensed Practical NursesCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time78%77%
Percent self-employed1%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentLicensed Practical NursesCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton25%$37,18713%$32,974
Annapolis Valley14%$37,29713%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeLicensed Practical NursesCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4444
GenderLicensed Practical NursesCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationLicensed Practical NursesCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx1.1%$27,581
High school1.7%x6.9%$24,119
Trades certificate7.0%x5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma78.3%$16,06539.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma3.1%x4.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree9.4%$24,42427.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma0.3%x2.3%$61,833
Master's degreexx5.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx7.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Licenced Practical Nurse
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia
Starlite Gallery
Halifax, NS B3L 2C2
(800) 718-8517
(902) 425-6811
Useful contacts:
Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators
Suite 260, 3480 Gilmore Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 4Y1
Tel: (778) 373-3101
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572
Nova Scotia Nurses Union
30 Frazee Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1X4
Tel: (800) 469-1474
Fax: (902) 466-6935

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Licensed practical/vocational nurse training (LPN, LVN, Cert., Dipl., AAS)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to assist in providing general nursing care under the direction of a registered nurse, physician or dentist. These programs include courses in taking patient vital signs, applying sterile dressings, patient health education and assistance with examinations and treatment.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
Additional resources: