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What Does a Licensed Practical Nurse Do?

If you’re a caretaker by nature, consider this job. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), provide hands-on medical care to patients. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a doctor. The biggest difference between an LPN and an LVN is location: Only California and Texas use the LVN acronym.

Most LPNs provide basic bedside care and take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration. These essential workers also prepare and give injections, apply dressings and monitor catheters. They help patients with dressing and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable and respond to requests. Job duties vary depending on the state and the setting where an LPN works. For example, in some states, an LPN with training can start intravenous fluids.

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$ 32,000 - $ 63,000
$ 47,000
59,120+
A licensed practical nurse tests a patient’s blood oxygen level with a pulse oximeter
A job as a licensed practical nurse offers a relatively fast track to making a difference in patients’ lives. (Credit: FamVeld/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
A Day In the Life

Tammy Ronstadt was in the 11th grade when she realized she wanted to be a nurse. She started nursing school at 17, and she’s never looked back.

"I just feel that’s what I was called to do," says Tammy — and she encourages more people, especially those just coming out of high school, to seriously consider getting into nursing. 

"You will always have a job. There's never going to be a shortage. We are greatly in need."

If you have patience and really want to help people, you should consider becoming a nurse.

Job Responsibilities
  • Measure and monitor vital signs
  • Administer and monitor some medications
  • Assist doctors and nurses with tests and procedures
  • Maintain patient records
  • Help patients eat, dress and bathe
  • Update doctors and nurses on patient status
Education + Training

A college degree is not required to become an LPN. Most complete their education through a state-approved program offered at a community college or technical school, and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Programs typically take about 12 months to complete. After that, prospective LPNs and LVNs take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Earning this license is required in all states.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Have an empathetic and caring nature
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Are good at handling multiple tasks under pressure
  • Have patience

Nurse - LPN / LVN Training in Your Area

Coordinates
Platt College logo

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Platt College
Tulsa (68.6 Miles)

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Johnson County Community College
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North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)

Practical Nursing (LPN) Certification

Garden City Community College
Garden City (287.8 Miles)

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