What is a licensed nurse (LPN or LVN)?

Licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a nurse who cares for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled under the direction of registered nurses.   The term licensed vocational nurse (LVN) is used in the states of California and Texas.  A LPN can perform a number of nurse tasks such as taking vital signs, i.e., height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, respiration, and pulse, passing certain medications, and performing certain skills like treating bed sores and other wounds/dressing changes.  The LPN does not perform patient assessments or education.

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) usually require one year to 18 months of training. LPNs are also known as licensed vocation nurses (LVNs) in some states. They provide care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, home health facilities, nursing homes, private homes, and correctional facilities. In most nursing homes, LPNs functions as the charge nurse ensuring that the day-to-day care of the residents’ needs are met. They are licensed by state board of nursing (BON) and are required to adhere to their professional standards set forth by the BON. They perform routine nursing tasks like monitoring patients and charting changes in the patient’s condition. They can triage but not perform a patient assessment. LPNS are valuable members of the nursing professional and generally work under the supervision of an RN or MD.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.