Licensed Practical Nurse

Job Description


In Texas and California, they are called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). In all other states, they are licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

Regardless of what they’re called, their duties are the same: they care for the sick, the injured, help the convalescent and assist the disabled in a variety of health care settings.

LPN jobs are plenty and they have a great job-growth outlook for the future. Many nurses receive their LPN as one of the first step to becoming a Registered Nurse or an advanced practice nurse. 

LPNs/LVNs work under the supervision of RNs or physicians. Preparation programs for LPNs involve one year of classroom and clinical training at a hospital, a vocational-technical school or a community college.

Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take a state exam to obtain their license as an LPN or LVN. Once licensed, these nurses are qualified to work in hospitals and other health care settings.




The responsibilities of an LPN are limited. They are required to work under the guidance and direct supervision of a registered nurse or physician.

Typical duties of an LPN include providing basic bedside care. Some of their common job responsibilities may include:

  • Taking vital signs (temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiration)

  • Providing treatment for bedsores

  • Preparing and administering medications through injection or enema

  • Applying dressings, including sterile dressings

  • Providing alcohol rubs and massages

  • Applying hot and cold packs as ordered

  • Monitoring catheters

  • Observing patients and report any adverse reactions to medications or treatments

  • Collecting lab samples for testing

  • Performing routine laboratory tests

  • Feeding patients who need assistance

  • Recording food and fluid intake and output

  • Assisting patients with personal hygiene, such as bathing and dressing

  • Providing comfort measures to patients

  • Caring for patients’ emotional needs

  • Administering medicines as prescribed by a physician or initiate venipuncture to start intravenous fluids in states where the law allows this practice

In some settings, LPNs may help deliver, care for and feed infants. Nursing assistants and nursing aides can be supervised by experienced LPNs.




Communication Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient's treatment plans and diagnoses. Must correspond with other medical professionals to ensure patient care. 
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing patient to make sure they are responding well to treatment plans and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary. 
Critical Thinking Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 
Complex Problem Solving Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 
Empathy Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with sensitive issues.
Trustworthiness Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 
Operation Monitoring Must be able to monitor gauges and dials and use medical software to give the best updated medical care. 


Working Conditions


Most licensed practical nurses work a standard 40-hour week in a hospital or a long-term care facility or nursing home.

Because the patients in these facilities need around-the-clock care, assignments for working nights, weekends and holidays are usually required.

An LPN is often required to sand for long periods of time and may be required to help patients turn and position in the bed, stand and walk.



Salary Outlook