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

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, long-term care facilities, homes, or any other setting where basic nursing care is needed. LVNs monitor patients by checking their response to medications and measuring their vital signs, like heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. LVNs may also assist patients with basic hygiene and instruct family members how to assist their loved ones in these areas. Other responsibilities of a LVN will likely include:

  • Administer medication
  • Collect blood and urine samples
  • Implement wound care

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 them to for comfort in stressful situations. LVNs must be able to stay calm, be observant, and have good communication skills.

Training and Certification

Training programs for licensed vocational nurses can be found at many community colleges, vocational schools, and nursing training centers. LVNs typically complete one year of training with courses including patient care, medications, anatomy, and physiology. After completing an LVN training program, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam that certifies them 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.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $41,540 in May 2012. The employment of such nurses is expected to grow by 25% between 2012 and 2022, per the BLS.

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