LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Licensed Vocational Nurse, or Licensed Practical Nurse, is responsible for providing a supportive role to medical professionals to administer patient care. Their duties include taking a patient’s vital signs, including heart rate or blood pressure, assisting Physicians and Nurses throughout examinations by recording a patient’s health information and administering vaccinations or taking blood samples as instructed by Physicians or Nurses.

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LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse duties and responsibilities

The duties for an LVN include collecting vital information from patients, gathering information about health complaints, changing wound dressings, removing stitches, explaining prescriptions and assisting patients with tasks such as getting dressed and walking or using a walking aid. An LVN has to be able to perform duties and responsibilities that include:

  • Recording and updating patient histories
  • Discussing health care issues and concerns
  • Providing assistance with therapies
  • Drawing blood for testing
  • Acting as a point of contact for a patient

What does an LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse do?

Licensed Vocational Nurses typically work for various healthcare facilities like hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes or outpatient clinics to assist with patient care needs. They work closely with other healthcare professionals and administrative staff members to provide medical treatment to patients with a wide range of injuries or illnesses. Their job is to change dressings for patients or take out stitches, offer guidance about at-home treatments and communicate with Physicians or Nurses if a patient’s condition begins to decline.

They may also be responsible for assisting administrative staff in uploading patient files into a digital database or taking phone calls from patients regarding schedule changes.

LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse Skills and Qualifications

An LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse has to be able to bring their educational skills together with other skills they’ve learned on the job. An LVN meets people and cares for them in what is often a difficult or emotionally-charged situation. They have to maintain their composure and compassion while providing medical care. Some of the skills and qualifications an LVN needs to perform their duties effectively include:

  • Communication skills: these may be the most important skills an LVN possesses. LVNs must communicate with doctors and patients and relay sensitive information.
  • Time management skills: An LVN frequently gives care to multiple patients at any given time. It is critical for them to manage time in an efficient manner and take care of duties before ending their shifts.
  • Decision-making skills: While an LVN is not a physician, the LVN does have the authority to make important decisions during the treatment of a patient. A competent LVN can make the correct decision to improve patient outcomes.
  • Managerial abilities: An LVN is often placed into a managerial role and oversees the duties of assistants and orderlies. An LVN has to be capable of delegating tasks and making sure that they have been completed properly.

LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse salary expectations

The average salary for an LVN is $24.69 per hour, although this can vary with geographical location and experience. An LVN that has just earned their degree is typically paid at the low end of the salary range. A Licensed Vocational Nurse with many years of experience is generally paid a wage that is in line with their experience and ongoing education.

LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse education and training requirements

Someone who has earned Licensed Vocational Nurse certification has completed an accredited training program of at least one year, and they have passed a national licensure examination. An LVN must also possess the proper licenses to work legally in a particular state. Educational courses for an LVN include biology, pharmacology, nursing and chemistry along with a requisite number of supervised hours in a clinic.

LVN Licensed Vocational Nurse experience requirements

An LVN needs to have experience working in different clinical settings and handling many different types of medical needs. They should be experienced in helping patients, managing co-workers, relaying information to physicians and patients and performing various tasks as needed.

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Frequently asked questions about LVNs (Licensed Vocational Nurses)

 

What is the difference between a Licensed Vocational Nurse and a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Licensed Vocational Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants both perform supportive roles for Nurses and Physicians. However, they differ in their education requirements, seniority and level of independence. For example, Licensed Vocational Nurses need to attend a year-long training program or achieve an associate degree to work as an LVN, followed by taking and passing the NCLEX-VN exam to become a licensed professional. In contrast, Certified Nursing Assistants usually attend a CNA program that lasts between four to six weeks in length, followed by taking and passing a certification exam.

Licensed Vocational Nurse programs typically have more in-depth medical courses on how to administer medications or detect patient needs. In contrast, Certified Nursing Assistants typically learn basic first aid and information about how to record vital signs. Because of these differences, Licensed Vocational Nurses usually hold a more senior role in a healthcare facility like taking blood samples, while Certified Nursing Assistants help patients bathe and eat.

 

What are the daily duties of a Licensed Vocational Nurse?

On a typical day, a Licensed Vocational Nurse starts their shift by receiving patient assignments from Nurses and getting information about their care needs. Throughout the day, they bring food to patients, help them re-adjust in bed, administer medications as instructed and help them perform grooming tasks. Every few hours, Licensed Vocational Nurses take their patient’s vital signs and document them for future review. They also take samples, change bandages or apply ointments as needed.

 

What qualities make a good Licensed Vocational Nurse?

A good Licensed Vocational Nurse has compassion for others and a personable nature, which allows them to make meaningful connections with each of their patients. They value continued education and continually look for ways to improve their first aid and medical knowledge to better help patients and healthcare professionals. Further, a good Licensed Vocational Nurse remains calm in emergencies to provide support to medical professionals when a patient’s condition deteriorates. A good Licensed Vocational Nurse also enjoys working as part of a team and is always willing to assist Nurses or Physicians.

 

Who does a Licensed Vocational Nurse report to?

A Licensed Vocational Nurse primarily reports to a Registered Nurse to complete patient care tasks and ask questions. In the absence of a Registered Nurse, a Licensed Vocational Nurse may report to the Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner.

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