Have you ever wondered what a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) does? Find out what they do. Along with the many career and financial benefits, LPN/LVN nursing could offer you.

How to Become Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN) Guide
How to Become Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN) Guide

Quick Summary

LVN/LPN puts you in an elite group of individuals. To obtain your license as an LVN/LPN requires time, a firm commitment, and unwavering dedication.

However, getting your LPN/LVN license could arguably be one of the best investments of your life. Deciding to become an LVN/LPN can offer you a chance to have a rewarding career with an excellent salary.

The abbreviation of LPN is short for Licensed Practical Nurse. Likewise, Licensed Vocational Nurse is short for LVN. The two names hold the same meaning. The Licensed Practical Nurse name is used in 48 states and the name Licensed Vocational Nurse is used in Texas and California. Even though both LVN and LPN go by different names both fulfill the same roles and have the same duties.

Is becoming an LPN/LVN right for you? Find out what education, certification, or license that will be needed to become an LPN/LVN today!

Recommended Degree Level: Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) will be needed to practice.

License Required: Registered Nursing License (RN).

Certification Available: If you are interested in becoming certified in gerontology or I.V therapy you can visit The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses. They offer two certifications however both certifications are voluntary. If those two are not enough then perhaps becoming certified in long-term care or pharmacology interests you more? If so you may want to visit The National Association for Practical Nurse Education.

How Much Does an LPN/LVN Earn? The Median annual salary is $43,170*

Licensed Practical Vocational Nurse

Table of Contents

What Does a Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) Do?

An LPN/LVN reports to a Registered Nurse (RN) and works under a Registered Nurse, physician, or other health care providers. Practical/Vocational nurses may work directly with patients within hospitals, clinics, assisted living, or even private homes.

Entry-level practical and vocational nurses use their skills to care for patients and residents that have common health problems that have predictable outcomes. The LPN/LVN takes part in helping to educate the patients about their medical treatment, preventive medical maintenance, and aftercare home treatment needed.

They provide basic bedside patient care to promote wellness, preventive health care services to a broad range of individuals. This includes individuals who are ill, injured in a convalescent home, and even disabled.

In addition to providing bedside clinical care, they also can perform administration tasks. Especially if they are employed in a clinic or physician’s office.

What Job Duties Do LPN/LVNs Have?

To help you understand more of what an LPN/LVN does it is always best to see what duties he or she performs:

  • Record patient vital signs
  • Record the patient’s progress and report their status to supervisors
  • Maintain a safe working environment
  • Sterilize instruments and supplies
  • Treat bedsores, apply dressings, insert catheters, use ice packs
  • Prepare and give patient injections and enemas
  • Collect patient urine samples/perform routine lab tests
  • Prepare patients for testing by giving patients liquids or feeding them
  • Record patient’s food and beverage input and output
  • Help patients who are bedridden with personal hygiene such as bathing and dressing
  • Start Intravenous fluids
  • Make patient appointments
  • Answer phones
  • Record keeping
  • Perform clerical duties and contribute to preparing patient documents
  • Administer medications – (Within some states)
  • Calculate drug dosage and monitor patients for possible reactions
  • Provide basic patient care
  • Take patient temperatures and blood pressure
  • Change patient dressing wounds
  • Take and record patient vital signs (height, weight, pulse, and respiration)
  • Prepare medical records
  • Experienced LPN’s/LVNs Supervises Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs)

LPNs and LVNs are employed to work as part of the healthcare team, and their scope of practice is always dictated by their state board of nursing regulations but also by what position and department they work in.

What roles can LPNs apply for:

Deciding to pursue a career as an LPN/LVN, you will have many options to grow and learn within the healthcare field.

  • LPN chart reviewer
  • LPN Supervisor
  • LPN unit manager
  • LPN Scrub nurse

On the other hand, you could even start as a basic entry-level LPN. This could be within a hospital department with a particular focus on patient populations such as geriatrics or even labor and delivery. LPNs can enjoy several employment roles that could be available to them.

What education or certification will I need to become an LPN/LVN?

To become an LPN/LVN, you will first need to graduate from a state-approved practical nursing program. A degree is not required to become an LVN/LPN. But you will need to obtain your LPN/LVN licensure.

Typically you can find  LVN/LPN nursing programs at many community colleges, technical colleges, hospitals, or even vocational schools. LPN/LVN school programs help equip you with the necessary nursing and clinical skills you’ll need to help pass your NCLEX-PN exam.

It is best to find a program that has received accreditation from a national or regional accrediting body. Nursing school accreditation helps ensure the institution and coursework you are taking meets professional nursing standards.

To become an LPN/LVN, you will need to take and pass The National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Once you pass the NCLEX-PN exam, you can then apply for your LPN/LVN license through your state board of nursing within your state.

LPN/LVN nursing programs cover:

  • Basic nursing concepts
  • Medical and surgical nursing concepts
  • Pediatrics, Physiology, Anatomy, First Aid training, and more

How long does it take to become an LPN/LVN?

The LPN/LVN nursing program length varies from state to state but the average time is about 12 months or 1 year.

Some practical nursing schools can even take 18 months to two years leading to an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN).

Remember if you are unhappy with starting you can always head back to school and pursue a more advanced role such as becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). The benefits to becoming an RN are more responsibilities, more flexibility with a salary increase.

Many schools throughout the U.S have what is known as an LPN/LVN to RN Bridge program. The LPN/LVN to RN bridge program takes about one year to complete.

Now, depending on what school you attend; generally, you may receive credit for your LPN/LVN experience. Possibly cutting your nursing school time down by almost half. Always check with your school and see if what out of your LPN/LVN program could be transferred towards a future degree.

What career paths are open for LPN/LVNs?

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports 212,760 LPN/LVNs worked in nursing care facilities while 101,580 worked in general and surgical hospitals.

LPN/LVNs work in a vast number of health care settings, LPN/LVNs enjoy work flexible hours, especially within the hospital setting. They can opt to work full time which is 40 hours a week or part-time.

The BLS shows us the most popular industries that hire the most LPN’s/LVNs for employment opportunists are:

Home Health Care: They provide nursing care in a home health environment that includes physical and emotional support. Working within the home health care industry, you may assist the RN within the performance of specific procedures. Also, they care for people who are unable to take full care of themselves.

The LPN/LVN might have to help with daily tasks such as running errands, cooking. Aside from this, they keep patients’ rooms orderly, help prepare meals and contribute to teaching the family members of simple nursing tasks to take better care of the patient.

Retirement and Assisted Living Homes: Being employed at a nursing home/assisted living and are responsible for monitoring the daily care delivery to residents. They will conduct clinical care to residents, perform resident rounds and report any problems to the supervisor nurse such as unusual or abnormal lab/x-ray results.

The LVN/LPN may formulate patient care plans and pass out medications, provide incident reports of residents who may be found with wounds, conduct paperwork, and keep track of resident’s documents discharge or transfer paperwork.

Nursing Care Facilities: LPN/LVNs working in nursing care facilities take on a broad range of responsibilities which may include bedside care, clerical duties, evaluating a patient’s needs, implementing a patient care plan, and making sure CNAs are performing their duties.

General and Surgical Hospitals: A significant portion of LPN/LVNs are employed in hospitals according to the BLS. CNAs working in hospitals enjoy a more fast-paced environment. LVN/LPNs who work in government-funded health facilities such as hospitals. They provide professional care to patients, monitor patients’ vital signs and symptoms, review their physical needs.

Additionally, some may document and record patient health status, and administer medications (in most states). The practical/vocational nurse can work in any unit within a hospital which can include labor and delivery, intensive care, medical-surgical, recovery, pediatrics with demands accustomed to the group they are assigned to.

Physician Offices – LPN/LVNs employed at a doctor’s office may perform a fair share of administrative tasks. They answer phones, keep track of patient records and perform a host of other clerical duties.

They also may help prepare patients for examinations and may even sometimes assist the physician or dentist with the exam. They additionally may apply dressings, schedule appointments, contribute to explaining the prescribed treatment plans to patients.

How much do LPN/LVNs make?

Deciding to become an LPN/LVN can provide an excellent salary with the possibility of obtaining long-term job stability. Nonetheless, remember the salary range does vary quite a bit between geographic regions, and institutions. Your experience and responsibilities will also affect your pay likewise.

Please keep in mind there are several ways for practical/vocational nurses to climb the nursing career ladder.

It is possible to gain more income by obtaining more experience and moving to larger and more prestigious facilities. Another great way to advance is to receive more education at a community college or university and become a Registered Nurse (RN).

LPN/LVN Median Annual Salary

The median annual salary for LPN/LVNs by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) 2020 Occupational guide is $48,820* or $23.47* per hour.

Actual pay is based on a variety of factors that include geographic location, years of experience, institution, and more.

Many enjoy flexible work schedules, and they can work nights, days, and weekends. Most start out working only part-time the gradually increase to full-time which is 40 hours a week.

Full-time LPN/LVNs usually receive fringe benefits, vacation time, medical coverage, 401(k) plans as determined by their employer.

What is my earning potential?

Your earning potential will always be based and influenced by where you live, your years of experience, and a host of other factors.

According to the BLS, LPN/LVNs who earn the top amounts of income live in Los Angeles and New York.

The BLS additionally reports the top 10% of LPN/LVNs to earn $58,710* or $28.22* per hour.

Many LPN/LVNs about 40 percent use their experience and license as an LPN/LVN as a stepping-stone. This license allows them to gain experience to help further their career in other medical-related health care jobs. Many students return to school to become RNs. The choice to become an RN can increase your earning potential with a large window of job opportunities.

Is there a demand for LPN/LVNs?

Yes, there is a great request for this career with no signs of slowing down. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), employment for practical/vocational nurses is predicted to grow faster than average for healthcare jobs throughout 2030.

In place of that high demand for nursing careers in general. The older adult population primarily needs LPN/LVNs. The elderly population is growing, and as they age, their need for long-term health care will be one of the leading factors that put them more in demand.

Traditionally government-funded hospitals have provided the bulk of job opportunities. More tellingly, employment is expected to be strongest for LPN/LVNs who opt to work with the elderly population in nursing homes, community care facilities, and home health care.

Equally important the demand for LPN/LVNs within rural parts of the U.S will have many jobs opening up due to the shortage of health care professionals.

What is the job growth for the field?

The employment of LPN/LVNs according to the BLS is projected to grow by 9 percent. This spans from years 2020 to 2030.

While all nursing healthcare occupations are expected to increase much faster than average. The reason for this predicted increase is projected to happen due to many factors, one being the baby-boom population increase in age with an abundant need for health care services. Geriatric patients will need LPN/LVNs in both nursing homes along home health environments.

Additionally, job growth for LPN/LVNs will be spurred by the need for outpatient care centers. As patient hospital stays decrease so will the demand increase for LPN/LVNs service will be required for outpatient facilities.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Hospital positions will highly be sought after due to the room for growth and learning opportunities. You may find competition when applying for hospital jobs.

Nursing homes tend to be less competitive and less desirable institutions new nursing students are not rushing to apply for. While these long-term care facilities have large openings, they continue to be easier to land a position in.

What kinds of institutions hire LPNs/LVNs nurses?

LPN/LVNs can find employment through a vast number of establishments. Below is a list where LPN/LVNs can be found:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Temp agencies
  • Residential care facilities
  • Government agencies
  • Nursing Homes
  • Public Health Environments
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Dentists
  • Schools

How do I advance in my licensed practical nurse career?

It is not uncommon for LPN/LVNs to advance their role into supervisory positions overseeing other LPNs and CNAs with expert knowledge and experience gained.

Aside from this, many continue on their education to become RNs. To find themselves promoted with expanded roles.

RNs work in collaboration with physicians and other health care providers. You can advance your career as an LPN/LVN. You may consider an LPN/LVN to RN bridge program (takes about 13 months depending on which school or program you join in) or just go on to earn your Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN).

Either way, all options are an excellent way to advance your LPN/LVN career.

What education will I need to become an LPN/LVN?

To become an LPN/LVN, you do not require a college degree. On the other hand, you will need to earn a Practical Nursing Diploma from an approved nursing school within your area.

A practical nursing diploma program will include theory, pharmacology, and clinical coursework. The practical nursing program is designed for those wishing to enter into the nursing field and gain valuable experience.

What will I learn in my LPN/LVN course program?

A practical nursing diploma program consists of several topics and clinical coursework to help prepare you for your new role.

Some topics you will learn in your diploma program are:

  • Nursing process
  • Psychology
  • Leadership
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Patient Education
  • Medical and Surgical Nursing
  • Nutrition

To give you a better idea of what to expect of the Licensed Practical Nursing/Licensed Vocational Nursing program coursework.

Below you can find an example from Lincoln Technical Institute Practical Nursing Program. Students will take various courses including:

PN112- Nursing Fundamentals: This course will cover basic nursing skills for students. The course includes infection control, workplace safety techniques, methods, and lab work. Students will additionally learn the nursing process, how to take vital signs, patient assessment procedures, wound care techniques, and mobility concepts.

PN124-Medical-Surgical Nursing: Nursing students are introduced to the principles and fundamentals of patient care. This course teaches new students what responsibilities they have for caring for patients that have physiologic responses to infections, electrolyte imbalance, and patient illness.

Further nursing students learn the principles of care for gerontology, oncology, surgical and medical patients. Also, they will learn the acute care principles for patients who are receiving IV therapy and patients recovering from surgery.

PN114-Nursing Clinical: This is an exciting course for LPN/LVN nursing students. This course helps nursing students apply what they learned and obtained from their previous nursing theory and lab experiences and begin to provide basic care that is safe for clients and families.

PN122/Pharmacology: LPN/LVN students learn the fundamentals of medication therapy. The LPN/LVN, nursing students, will find out how to calculate drug dosage accurately. An integral part of the pharmacology course teaches students of the various effects medication and dosage may affect the patient’s body.

Most LVN/LPN training programs additionally cover a broad range of topics such as pediatrics, nutrition, patient education, leadership skills, and more. All of the courses are designed to provide you with the best learning experiences theory and knowledge to help you pass your needed state-licensed to become a certified LPN/LVN.

Practical Nursing diploma programs are taught simulation labs to offer nursing students hands-on training. Most programs are taught by Certified Nursing Educators that have years of experience.

Aside from this, most LPN/LVN classes require students to master a set number of skills (this could be making a patient bed) before allowing the nursing student to perform in their clinical rotations typically in a hospital setting. Clinical rotation is the time spent physically working in a hospital unit or healthcare facility floor.

LPN/LVN diploma nursing programs provide students hand-on training within their classroom which includes taking and learning to read the patient vital signs, what is the proper way to dress a patient’s wound, drug and iv therapy, how to immobilize a patient if they have an injured limb.

The purpose of the hands-on training is to get the practical/vocational nursing students prepared to know how to perform the everyday tasks they will perform once they enter into the medical field.

LPN/LVN to Associate’s Degree (ADN) Program options

Remember there is no Associate Degree needed to become an LPN/LVN. In any event, if you would like to further your career it is not a bad idea to keep in mind you can within the future enroll into an LVN to RN bridge program.

Your LPN/LVN credits may be transferable count towards an LPN/LVN to RN bridge program. Thus saving you time from starting over. The exact number of credit transferring will depend on the school you currently attend along with the new school to which you have applied.

It’s best to call and see if they will honor your previous LPN/LVN credits. Therefore, it is always best to call and check with the school student counselors. LPN/LVN to RN Bridge programs take less than a year to complete. Once complete you will have an Associates Degree in Nursing.

Side note: It is a good idea that once you are enrolled in an LPN/LVN program keep your grades up and give it all you can. The reason for this is because later on you may want to apply to a college or university and many have prerequisite requirements for accepting applicants that have minimum G.P.A grade point averages.

LPN/LVN Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Remember many nursing students become an LPN/LVN as a mode to advance their overall career goals. Earning your Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) can be a wise investment if you are willing to do the work and go the extra mile. BSN nursing programs normally take four years to complete.

Having a BSN could expand your opportunities within the medical field and propel your nursing career to new heights. Additionally putting you in a position to have many options for dozens of nursing specialty employment openings. This includes supervisor and manager positions that are only offered to BSN degree holders. Getting your BSN degree should always be your next up and the pay between an LPN/LVN and a BSN registered nurse is like night and day.

If you are unhappy with just earning your LPN/LVN diploma, you may want to consider enrolling into LPN/LVN to BSN bridge programs. Normally there are prerequisites you will need to meet before being accepted to such a program and some of your LPN/LVN credits may transfer over and count towards your BSN degree. BSN bridge programs focus on educating and empowering students to become professional nurses in a variety of leadership positions.

If time is an issue for you, consider an online hybrid BSN bridge program. That could allow you more freedom to earn your BSN degree on your schedule. Many nursing students who get their BSN degrees are adult learners with families and jobs to attend to. It is possible to find LPN/LVN hybrid degree programs. These programs are not 100% online nor is the program 100% on campus. These programs are a mix of both.

You take your theory classes in an online classroom format and attend your nursing clinical rotations offsite. The nursing school will place you at a clinical site near your home.

What certification will I need once I finish my LPN/LVN nursing school?

Once you complete your LPN/LVN nursing program you will need to take the NCLEX-PN exam. The NCLEX-PN is a national license exam for the LPN.

After you have gained a passing score on your NCLEX-PN exam, you can apply for your state nursing license. This will be with the state board of nursing within your state.

The NLCEX-PN examination has close to 200 questions, and you will be allowed no more than 5 hours to complete the exam.

The interesting thing about taking the NCLEX-PN is the exam is formulated its questions based upon your skill level. This helps to ensure the questions are not too easy or too hard.

The testing format consists of an interactive format that is called Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). As you take this test, the computer will gradually begin to detect the level of knowledge and competence you have gained.

What can I expect the NCLEX-PN to cover?

The NCLEX-PN consists of four parts or four categories that were made to fulfill the needs of the residents and patients.

The first group includes two sub-portions.

  • Safe & Effective Care

Coordinated Care makes up 16 to 22% of the NCLEX-PN exam. This portion covers how the LPN/LVN collaborates with other health care team members to provide health care that protects medical personnel and clients (patients). Topics such as consumer rights, ethical practice, and continuity of attention are a few handfuls of subjects that will be covered on the NCLEX-PN exam.

Infection Control and Safety make up between 10 to 16 percent of the NCLEX-PN examination. It is the responsibility of LPN/LVNs to keep patients safe. This portion of the exam will test them on how to maintain the client (patient) protected from any environmental hazards. Topics such as accident and injury prevention, use of safety equipment, and emergency response planning are covered.

  • Health Promotion and Maintenance

The second portion of the NCLEX-PN examination will test the Licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses’ knowledge of patients’ stages of growth and development. In addition to the prevention and detection of health problems. The exam will have subjects on the aging process, high-risk behaviors, patient self-care, and more.

  • Psychosocial Integrity

The third portion of the exam tests nursing students on how well they understand how to provide care for clients (patients) that promote and support their mental, social and emotional well-being. Some topics that are included in the exam are abuse and neglect, patient support systems, crisis intervention, and grief and loss.

The final portion of the NCLEX-PN exam will test the practical/vocational nurse on four concepts.

The exam concepts are:

Basic Care and Comfort: Part of their responsibility is to provide comfort and assistance to clients to help with their daily living activities. This section of the exam will cover elimination, mobility and immobility, rest and sleep, and other basic care and comfort topics.

Pharmacological Therapies: This portion of the exam will test students’ knowledge of the administration of medications of clients receiving treatment. Topics covered include dosage calculations, adverse side effects, and expected actions and outcomes.

Reduction of Risk Potential: The purpose of this portion of the exam is to make sure LPN/LVNs know the proper techniques and procedures to help patients reduce their chances of developing health problems and complications of treatments, their procedures, or any existing prior health conditions.

Physiological Adaptation: The physiological portion of the exam will test practical/vocational nursing participants on how to care for patients with life-threatening, acute, and chronic health conditions. A few concepts that will be covered include medical emergencies along with patient responses to medical therapies.

How long does it take to become an LPN/LVN?

The typical time it takes to complete an LPN/LVN training program is about 12 to 14 months if attending full-time with no breaks in attendance.

According to California’s State Board of Nursing, it takes approximately 12-14 months if you are going full time. On the other hand, 18-20 months if you are attending school part-time.

Are online LPN/LVN programs available?

Yes. It is possible to find vocational schools and colleges that offer online self-paced LPN/LVN courses. The LPN/LVN programs provide what is known as blended learning options where you can take a portion of your theory coursework online and complete your clinical rotation at a hospital.

The majority of online LPN/LVN schools are affiliated with hospitals around the U.S allowing you to participate in hands-on clinical practice.

Many online programs maintain the rigorous standards of a traditional classroom with homework deadlines, participation requirements, or even learning team assignments you will be expected to contribute to.

To find LPN/LVN school programs you will need to locate your school of choice and ask could this program be completed online? Although not every school can offer this option. There are accredited schools and campuses that have online vocational nurse programs available.

Is distance learning right for me?

Am I motivated? Do I have good time management skills? Am I self-disciplined?

All of the questions above you must ask yourself. Deciding to take online courses may not work for everyone. Depending on your learning style, you may need a classroom environment.

However, for some this may be a great fit and a good option that can fit into their current schedule.

You see online LPN/LVN programs can offer a more flexible schedule in comparison to traditional face-to-face schooling. Allowing yourself as well as other students who have limited time to their personal life a more convenient way to earn their certification.

What is the average cost of LPN school?

The average cost is about $5,000 or more. Of course, this number could be higher or lower depending on what school you decide to attend.

Some LPN/LVN nursing programs can range from $9,000 to $13,500; additionally, this price does include tuition, books, uniform, and background check fees. It is best to check with your school of choice to discuss your financial aid options to help pay for your school’s tuition and other costs.

The good news is if you decide to go back to school after earning your practical/vocational license, you may later enter into an LPN to RN bridge program.

A school may give you credit for earning your licensure. Thus saving you money and time to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

Are there prerequisites for a program?

Yes. Every school is different with different requirements needing to be fulfilled to gain entry into their LPN/LVN program.

Some schools may not require students to have an H.S diploma or G.E.D however most will so will need to locate a copy of their transcripts just in case.

Enrolling in a practical/vocational nursing program you will be required to pass a drug test and background check. Your current immunization records may additionally be needed.

Some LPN/LVN will have an entrance exam you may have to take to be accepted into their program. You might be required to take the entrance exam called the: Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and obtained a passing score.

Are there any certifications I can obtain and can I specialize in an area?

Yes. The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses has voluntary certifications for both LPN/LVN. This certification is for those who would like to specialize in Gerontology and IV therapy. This certification is good for two years. Licensed practical/vocational nurses can work in any unit of a hospital. This includes intensive care, maternity, recovery, pediatrics, medical-surgical. Each unit will have its demands and duties.

Why does Accreditation matter for my LPN/LVN program?

Deciding to pursue a school to obtain your LPN/LVN diploma you might want to go to a school that is accredited. Accreditation is the only way you can be sure the school and program of choice meet professional criteria and standards.

The problem is if you decided to enroll in a nursing program that is not accredited your credits, later on, may not transfer. It is always a good idea to ask the school of choice if they have earned their accreditation before considering signing up.

There are two accreditation bodies you will want to keep an eye out for.

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits a wide variety of nursing programs that include diploma, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

The second accreditation body is the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) which provides accreditation for only bachelor and master’s degree nursing programs.

Typically schools will display this logo on their website, or student brochures. Nevertheless, remember to be sure to ask them if they have received accreditation from one of the two bodies mentioned above:

LPN/LVN career Frequently Asked Questions. What you need to know!

How long does it take to become an LPN?

About one year or 12 months.

Why should I become a licensed vocational/practical nurse?

Everyone has his or her reasons for deciding to pursue a career as an LPN/LVN. However, most people decide to pursue this career based on financial and personal reasons.

Every choice you make right now will have a direct impact on your future whether for the positive or the negative. Investing one year of your life to have a solid career with room for growth is more valuable than you can ever imagine.

What is a Licensed Vocational and Practical Nurse?

The licensed practical and vocational nurse is a nurse that provides (BASIC) direct patient care. Such as taking patient vital signs, assisting patients with bathing or dressing, starting IVs, assisting doctors and nurses with patient treatments, monitoring patients, keeping patient equipment clean and sanitized, maintaining patient records, and more.

They do this in several medical settings, such as a hospital, clinics, and schools, private homes. Registered nurses normally are in charge of supervising LPN/LVNs.

The primary job responsibility of the licensed practical/vocational nurses is to make sure their patients are comfortable, and their hygiene needs are met.

Some LPN/LVN may have more specialized functions such as providing treatments or administering medications based on their years of experience and job.

Licensed/vocational nurses provide physical and emotional support to their patients. LPN/LVN provides cost-effective, high-quality nursing care that contributes to the health and well-being of the patient.

What is the course you will study for the LPN School?

Some courses you may study will include pharmacology, fundamentals of nursing, nutrition, medical terminology, medication dosage/calculations. Also, you are required to complete a clinical rotation (actually working with patients) in a hospital setting before you can graduate.

Is there continuing education needed to keep my license active?

Some states do not require LPN/LVNs to complete continuing education (CE). However, some states do require licensed/practical nurses to fill out an X amount of contact hours every two years to keep the LPN/LVN license active and up to date.

Take for example:
Montana, Mississippi, Georgia does not require CE for LPNs. However, California requires LVNs to complete 30 contact hours of CE every two years to keep their LVN license active and in good standing.
It’s best to check with your State Board of Nursing as every state has its criteria that must be met.

Career Outlook

The outlook for employment for LPN/LVNs is excellent. Currently, there is a significant nursing shortage across the nation. The health care field has to meet the needs of the medical community. Faster-than-average employment growth is predicted for LPN/LVNs according to the BLS.

Now is a great time for young people to take advantage of the variety of opportunities an LPN/LVN could bring. With the overall growth in health care combined with the long-term health need of the aging population, this in return creates a greater need for quality LPN/LVNs to meet their health care demands.

LPN/LVN’s primary source of job openings will be within the nursing home, and home health care services. Due to the increase, many older adults age 65 and above needing home treatment will create faster than average employment opportunities for LPN/LVNs.

Read also – How to Become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Guide

Check out our other Nursing School Guides.