LPNs and LVNs are generally used to interchangeably describe the same occupation. LPNs/LVNs both have the same educational and licensing requirements, and typically perform the same duties. The primary difference between LPNs and LVNs lies in which particular state a nurse practices in. For example, those nurses practicing in Texas and California are referred to as LVNs. Conversely, all other states are called LPNs.

LPNs and LVNs are typically responsible for more basic kinds of patient care and comfort measures. They report directly to registered nurses (RNs) and physicians. Treatment plans for patients that are guided by RNs are generally based on the data and observations collected by LPNs.

Becoming a LPN/LVN

Those considering a position as a LPN/LVN should have experience and interest in caring a wide variety of patients. Additionally, they should be responsible, accountable, compassionate, and caring individuals. Lastly, they should have adequate time management skills and should be flexible

What Are the Education Requirements for a LPN/LVN?

Before beginning the process, aspiring LPN/LVN students must first earn a high school diploma or GED certificate. The next step involved in becoming a LPN/LVN requires that individuals must obtain a diploma via a community college or an accredited online course. LPNs, in some states, aren't required to have any kind of diploma but are required to pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) which provides them a certification allowing them to work as a LPNs in the United States. Courses which practical nurses must successfully complete in order to work within the United States are generally one year in length. However, certain positions may also require additional field experience prior to being hired.

Any Certification or Credentials Needed?

LPNs/LVNs must take and pass a National Council Licensure Examination. Once they have passed, they can obtain a certification allowing them to work as a LPNs in the United States.

Once an LPN/LVN and considering climbing through the ranks and professional ladder, many consider LPN to RN program options.

Where Do LPN/LVNs Work?

There exists a wide variety of settings in which LPNs and LVNs can be found working in. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Physicians' offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals (both private and public)
  • Military organizations
  • Correctional facilities
  • Schools and Universities
  • In-home healthcare
  • Residential care facilities

LPNs who choose to work as home care nurses or in nursing homes often are able to perform more duties autonomously without the constant supervision that LPNs working within hospital settings will have.

What Does a LPN/LVN Do?

LPNs/LVNs carry out tasks such as taking patients' vital signs, administering medication and other treatments under the supervision of medical professionals like RNs and doctors. Additionally, they check the vital signs of patients, provide meals, and clean and manage medical instruments and equipment. Other everyday tasks an LPN/LVN might carry out include tracking the medical history of patients, changing bandages and wound care, helping patients bathe and dress, discussing medical care and concerns with patients, and in some cases assuming leadership roles.

See the difference between an LPN and an RN.

What Are the Roles & Duties of LPN/LVN?

  • Take vital signs
  • Organize and compile patient health history and information
  • Provide care and feeding for infants and geriatric patients
  • Provide personal hygiene assistance to patients
  • Administer medication -monitoring frequency and measuring amounts
  • Supervise nursing aides and assistants
  • Take blood pressure and conduct other basic care treatments
  • Set up, clean and use catheter, oxygen suppliers and other equipment

RELATED:

LPN/LVN Salary & Employment

Earnings for a Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse can widely vary from state to state and according to experience, service and further education/training. They are also employed across a variety of "industries" and sectors -thus influencing the mean salaries.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics practical nurses have a possible job outlook of 25%, which is must faster than the rate of growth for other positions within the country, and within the field of nursing. The rate of pay for positions within the practical nursing field averages $41,540 per year or $19.97 per hour, but fluctuates based on experience, training and certification. Individuals concerned should be cognizant that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

Helpful LPN Organizations, Societies, and Agencies