Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
There are no major differences in the job duties between an LPN and an LVN. The only true difference is the name. California and Texas use the term LVN, while the rest of the country uses the term Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). They are considered interchangeable.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic nursing care. They care for the sick, injured, convalescent, and disabled in a variety of health care settings, including nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and private homes.
These nurses provide hands-on care to patients under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or physicians. Most LPNs and LVNs provide basic bedside care. They take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also treat bedsores, prepare and give injections and enemas, apply dressings, give alcohol rubs and massages, apply ice packs and hot water bottles and monitor catheters.
LPNS and LVNs observe patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments. They collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, feed patients, and record food and fluid intake and output. They help patients with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable and care for their emotional needs. In states where the law allows, they may administer prescribed medicines or start intravenous fluids.
To become an LPN or LVN, you must enroll in a one-year, state-approved practical nursing program at a hospital, vocational-tech school or community college. A high school diploma, or the equivalent, usually is required for entry into a program, although some programs accept candidates without a diploma. Some programs are designed as part of a high school curriculum. After training, students are eligible for licensure as an LPN or LVN. Once licensed, they are qualified to work at a hospital.