What is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)?
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RNs) and doctors to provide basic medical and nursing care. The title varies by location: LPN is commonly used in most U.S. states, while LVN is the title used in California and Texas.
What Do They Do?
- Patient Care: Provide basic patient care like measuring vitals, administering medications, and dressing wounds.
- Data Collection: Document patient histories and symptoms.
- Monitoring: Continuously monitor patients and report changes in their condition to RNs or doctors.
- Assisting in Procedures: Prepare and assist in medical examinations and treatments.
- Communication: Act as a liaison between the RN and the patient, providing information and education to patients and their families.
- Support: Provide emotional support to patients and their families.
- Educational Requirements: Complete a state-approved educational program, often lasting around 12 months.
- Licensure: Pass the NCLEX-PN exam to obtain a license to practice.
- State Requirements: Meet any additional requirements as specified by the state in which you plan to work.
Qualities of a Good LPN/LVN
- Compassion: Empathy towards patients’ conditions and challenges.
- Detail-Oriented: Ability to focus on details to ensure adequate care and medication administration.
- Stamina: Physical ability to perform tasks like lifting patients and standing for long periods.
- Interpersonal Skills: Effective communication and teamwork abilities.
- Adaptability: Capability to work in various settings like hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics.
- Integrity: Trustworthiness and ethical conduct in all patient interactions.