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Description: Provide patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician, or dentist. Salary Range: $15,000 to $33,000 Educational Requirements: Varies from education programs across the nation - 7 months to 24 months. Helpful Skills: Physical strength and stamina; compassion; self confidence; good judgment and decision-making skills. Experience and Qualifications:In order to become licensed, candidates must graduate from an approved board of nursing practical nurse program and successfully pass and N-CLEX-PN examination.
The LP/VN is prepared to function as a member of the health-care team by exercising sound nursing judgment based on preparation, knowledge, skills, understanding and past experiences in nursing situations. The licensed practical/vocational nurse does a large share of the direct patient care in health facilities today. The LP/VN participates in the planning, implementation and evaluation of nursing care in all settings where nursing takes place. Generally this means providing for the emotional and physical comfort and safety of patients; observing, recording and reporting to appropriate persons, changes in patients' symptoms and conditions; performing more specialized nursing functions such as administering medications and therapeutic treatments; and assisting with rehabilitation.
In the hospital setting duties may include taking and recording temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate; dressing wounds; observing patients and reporting adverse reactions or altered conditions; administering medications, noting time and amount on patients' charts; assembling and using such equipment as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, oxygen supplies, recording food and fluid intake and output; applying compresses, hot and cold packs, bathing, dressing and assisting patients in walking and turning; performing normal range of motion exercises with patients; collecting routine laboratory specimen; starting and checking on IV equipment.
Salaries for Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses generally range from $15,000 to $33,000 with the average salary falling in the low $20,000's. Large metropolitan hospitals tend to pay more than nursing homes, and those with more experience will receive a higher salary
Where the jobs are
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses are utilized in every component of the health care delivery system, including:
Extended Care Facilities
Private Doctor's Offices
Some hospitals offer various opportunities for licensed practical/vocational nurses to advance; i.e., IV teams, treatment nurses, critical care settings, special procedure nurses, as a few examples. In some instances, at other facilities such as nursing homes, LP/VNs practice in the charge nurse supervisory roles.
Education and Training
Becoming a licensed practical/vocational nurse requires completion of a formal training program plus supervised clinical instruction. Practical nursing educational programs are offered by vocational schools and community colleges, and require high school diploma or the equivalent. Some programs require passing an entrance exam.
For board approved schools in your state, contact your local board of nursing for listing. The individual schools can provide you with a course description and requirements for graduation.
A complete list of Boards of Nursing is on the NCSBN website linked below.
License Exam Information
National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
676 N St. Clair, Suite 550
Chicago, IL 60611-2921
312/787-6555 * Fax 312/787-6898 http://www.ncsbn.org