With equal parts compassion and competence, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses, or LPNs and LVNs, play a crucial role in providing patient care. LPNs and LVNs help patients in nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, working under the direction of doctors and registered nurses, or RNs. LPNs and LVNs check patients’ vital signs, change dressings, and provide other types of basic patient care. They also help patients bathe and dress when needed. Record keeping is an important aspect of the job, as is communicating patients’ concerns and questions to doctors and RNs. The exact duties of LPNs and LVNs vary by state, but their role on the front line of patient care doesn’t. Practical nursing takes patience and stamina. Attention to detail is essential in this career, as is being observant and communicating clearly. Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses work in nursing homes, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and in home healthcare. Becoming an LPN or LVN starts with completing a state-approved program, which usually lasts about 1 year. Licensure is required in all states.
What they do:
Care for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
On the job, you would:
Administer prescribed medications or start intravenous fluids, noting times and amounts on patients' charts.
Observe patients, charting and reporting changes in patients' conditions, such as adverse reactions to medication or treatment, and taking any necessary action.
Answer patients' calls and determine how to assist them.
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
looking for ways to help people
changing what is done based on other people's actions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
do two or more things at the same time
pay attention to something without being distracted
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Categorization or classification software
Diagnostic and procedural coding software
certificate after high school or some college usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:
Nurse, Licensed Practical
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.