Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) typically work under the supervision of registered nurses. They are responsible for providing basic bedside care to patients in hospitals, sanatoriums and assisted facilities. Licensed vocational nurses are also sometimes referred to as licensed practical nurses – there is negligible difference in the duties that they perform which is why LPN and LVN is often used interchangeably.
To be eligible for an LVN position, it is important to complete a practical nursing program – people enrolled in these programs are required to possess a high school diploma at the very least. Once they have completed training, it is important for LVNs to pass the National Council Licensure Examination of Practical Nurses.
As far as the work of a licensed vocational nurse is concerned, she provides limited bedside care such as taking vitals, administering injections and enemas and giving alcohol rubs. Since working as an LPN is a demanding job, it is important for LPNs to be physically strong and have the capacity to work on their feet for long periods of time. They also need to possess a compassionate personality – LPNs often have to provide education to patients’ families and support during distressing times.
• Maintain knowledge of each patient’s condition and study care plan in detail
• Monitor patients’ health by checking their vitals such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse
• Administer enemas and injections and insert catheters
• Change bandages, assess wounds and record observations in patient log books
• Observe patients for signs of distress and attempt to help them become comfortable
• Monitor patients to gauge reactions to medication and inform concerned nurse manager or doctor immediately
• Assist patients in taking baths or give them sponge baths
• Provide strict instructions to kitchen staff about patients’ nutritional needs
• Encourage patients to partake their meals and record intake on a regular basis
• Keep track of medical equipment and report any malfunctions on immediate basis
• Administer medication and proposed treatment to patients
• Assist patients during exercises and physical therapy sessions
• Update care plans according to instructions provided and handle admission and discharge activities
• Collect samples for testing purposes and follow up on results
• Turn patients in their beds and treat bedsores
• Empty bedpans and change adult diapers and soiled linen
• Educate patients and families about the use of medicines and exercises and provide emotional support
• Make-certain that patient areas are kept clean at all times