Licensed vocational nurses, which are known as licensed practical nurses in most states, provide basic nursing care in a variety of settings. An LVN's career objectives on a resume focus on contributions to patient care and support for other medical professionals. LVNs must complete a one-year accredited educational program in their field and must pass a national licensing exam to practice, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To Support the Health Care Operation
LVNs aim to serve in a supportive role in a health care operation, providing a range of services. Their objective is to collaborate well with their colleagues and to contribute to the overall success of the team. An LVN's defined duties on a medical team typically stem from the preferences and practices of the team's registered nurses and physicians, who together supervise LVNs. In service of registered nurses and physicians, an LVN maintains patient records, provides verbal reports on patients, and delivers information, such as test results.
To Provide Patient Care
LVNs provide basic medical and non-medical care for patients. Medical care includes tasks such as collecting samples, performing routine lab tests, changing bandages and inserting catheters, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The type of medical care they can provide varies depending on the state. In some states, they can give medication to a patient and administer an IV drip. In other states, they are restricted from those tasks. Non-medical care includes helping patients eat, bathe, dress and use the bathroom, as well as other duties related to the patient's hygiene and comfort.
To Monitor Patient Conditions
A critical objective for LVNs is routine monitoring of patients and their conditions. This is especially important in hospitals and nursing-home facilities where LVNs often are the medical professionals who spend the most time with patients. LVNs speak with patients to gauge how they are feeling, and they also check their vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse, and monitor equipment. In addition, they ensure that patients are keeping up with any exercises or other tasks they have been assigned for their health.
To Communicate with Patients and Families
Because LVNs are a frequent presence in the lives of patients, they serve an essential role as an outlet for patients and their families, who often turn to LVNs to answer basic questions about treatment and other issues related to the patient's care. For instance, LVNs in a hospital can supply not only basic information about food service and visiting hours but also answer questions related to care at home after the patient's release, plans for follow-up visits and other vital information.
2016 Salary Information for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a median annual salary of $44,090 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a 25th percentile salary of $37,040, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $51,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 724,500 people were employed in the U.S. as licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Do
- Los Angeles Harbor College: Transition - LPN to RN ... Is it the Right Decision for Everyone?
- Explore Health Careers: Vocational/Licensed Practical Nurse
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
- Career Trend: Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.