What Does an LVN Do?

LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) monitor patients and assist them with daily tasks. LVNs also perform a limited number of medical procedures. Read on to find out more about what an LVN does. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties of LVNs

Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), also called licensed practical nurses or LPNs in most states, perform both simple and complex medical procedures under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), LVNs work in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, homes, or any other setting where basic nursing care is needed. LVNs monitor patients by measuring their vital signs, like heart rate and blood pressure. LVNs may also assist patients with basic hygiene and instruct family members on how to assist their loved ones in these areas. Other responsibilities of a LVN may also include:

  • Administering medication
  • Collecting blood and urine samples
  • Changing bandages

Important Facts about this Occupation

Professional certification Voluntary certification in specialty areas is available
Work Environment May stand for long periods; May lift or move patients; Most work full time, including on nights, weekends, and holidays
On-the-Job Training None provided
Similar Occupations Nursing Assistants, Physical Therapist Assistants, Psychiatric Technicians, Registered Nurses, Surgical Technologists,

Required Skills

LVNs work directly with patients, and so, like all nurses, they must be caring and sympathetic to the needs of their patients. They must be emotionally-stable because people look to them for comfort in stressful situations. LVNs must be able to stay calm, be observant, and have good communication skills.

Training and Licensure

Training programs for licensed vocational nurses can be found at many community colleges and technical schools, and may sometimes be found in high schools and hospitals. LVNs typically complete one year of training, taking courses such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology. Students then participate in a supervised clinical experience in order to graduate. After completing an LVN training program, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam that allows them to receive a license to work as LVNs. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing develops this exam. It tests the ability to provide an effective and caring nursing environment, health promotion, physiological integrity, and psychosocial integrity.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $42,490 in May 2014. The employment of such nurses is expected to grow by 16% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS, which is much faster than average.

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