What Does a Licensed Practical Nurse Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in some states, are healthcare professionals who provide basic nursing care under the direction of registered nurses (RNs) and doctors. Their primary responsibilities include measuring and recording vital signs, providing basic patient care such as wound dressing and bathing, administering medications, and ensuring the comfort of patients. LPNs also collect patient information through interviews and observations, report the status of their patients, and assist with tests and evaluations.
To thrive as an LPN, one must have a strong foundation in nursing principles, good practical skills, and a genuine compassion for patients. LPNs must be attentive to detail because they often provide the most direct level of patient care, and they need strong interpersonal communication skills to interact effectively with patients and their families.
LPNs are employed in a variety of healthcare settings, including nursing homes, extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians' offices, and private homes. They play a critical role in the healthcare team, providing essential care that contributes to the recovery and well-being of patients.
The path to becoming an LPN involves completing a state-approved educational program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Their role is essential in the healthcare delivery system, offering both technical nursing care and the human touch that is often needed in the healing process.