What Do Licensed Vocational Nurses Do?

NursingJanuary 23, 2017

Wondering what a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) does? Basically, whatever a licensed practical nurse (LPN) does. Essentially they are one and the same. LVN is a job title specific to California and Texas; whereas, in every other state, they’re known as LPNs – licensed practical nurses.

So, whether you take a practical nursing course or one for vocational nursing, you’ll be doing the same thing. Upon graduation, your first priority will be to pass your licensing test so you can practice in whatever state you have selected.


As either an LVN or LPN, you’ll be working under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) and a physician, providing basic bedside care to patients. Duties you can expect to perform likely will include monitoring patients’ health, checking blood pressure, changing bandages, inserting catheters – essentially providing for their basic comfort and addressing their needs.

Responsibilities of a LPN


Duties of LPNs and LVNs vary but typically will include discussing their care with patients, reporting on their health and concerns, and keeping their records. Depending on the setting in which they’re working, and in which state, LPNs and LVNs may be permitted to administer medication or start IV drips, but many other states reserve those duties for RNs or higher.


In some locations, experienced licensed practical and vocation nurses can oversee and direct other LPNS and LVNs, as well as unlicensed medical staffers. They can also make the move to RN with additional education and training.


Candidates for LPN or LVN must complete an approved educational program and, of course, pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) before they are allowed to work in all states. But, as a nurse, you will have a direct influence on improving the outcomes of all patients.


Nurses are critical components of hospital care. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment growth among LPNs and LVNs will be much faster than average over the next seven to eight years.

Become an LPN


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