practical nurses are generalists who care for patients in a variety of
settings. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) and a licensed vocational nurse
(LVN) are two different designations for the same level of nurse. California and Texas are
the only states in the U.S.to use the LVN designation.
an LPN, one must complete a state-approved training program, which typically
takes about one year and is offered at vocational schools, technical schools,
and community colleges. After completing an LPN training program, the student
must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Professional Nurses
(NCLEX-PN) in order to become a licensed practical/vocational nurse.
An LPN's Daily Tasks
licensed practical nurses work under the supervision of physicians or
registered nurses and are responsible for providing basic bedside care for
patients. Some of the most common daily tasks of an LPN include:
Measuring and documenting a
patient's vital signs, such as blood pressure, height, weight,
temperature, pulse, and respirations
Bathing, dressing, and
Assisting patients by feeding
them and helping them walk.
Licensed practical nurses
also can prepare and administer medications orally or through injections.
Patient monitoring, such as
observing patients for positive or adverse reactions to treatments or
Assist physicians or
registered nurses with procedures and tests.
Supervise nursing assistants
Where They Work
licensed practical nurses work in hospitals or personal care facilities, and a
typical work week is 40 hours long. If an LPN is not available for full-time
work, he or she might be able to work part time, or on a per diem or on-call
basis. In settings that involve 24-hour care, LPNs may be required to work
nights or weekends. Additionally, licensed practical nurses are often on their
feet for considerable amounts of time, and they might be exposed to infectious
diseases, radiation, and chemicals. It is essential that an LPN take the proper
safeguards and precautions in order to protect their own health, as well as the
health of their patients.
Characteristics of Successful LPNs
a number of important characteristics a licensed practical nurse should possess
in order to be successful.
foremost, an LPN must have a caring personality. An LPN's biggest and most
important job is to care for patients. It takes patience, professionalism, and
compassion to provide high-quality nursing care.
essential characteristic is that licensed practical nurses work well on a team.
There are many individuals involved in patient care, from physicians to nurses,
aides, social workers, and other personnel. LPNs should be able to work collaboratively
and carry out orders and assignments.
should have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. Charting
and documentation are important tools for facilitating communication between
healthcare workers. If an LPN cannot chart in a comprehensive manner, this
might hinder a doctor's ability to treat a patient.
can be a stressful career. On a daily basis, nurses experience a variety of
emotions that stem from a strenuous workload, or possibly the death of a patient.
A successful LPN will participate in proper stress relievers, such as yoga, or
they will possess a sense of humor that helps relieve tension.
practical nurses must be detail-oriented since accuracy is so important to
providing quality care.
an LPN should possess a great love of learning. Some states require that LPNs
complete continuing education courses in order to maintain licensure, and even
in states where these courses are not required LPNs should be interested in
learning more about this constantly evolving career.