dcsimg

What Does a Licensed Professional Nurse Do?


Licensed practical nurses, called licensed vocational nurses in California and Texas, help provide patient care under the supervision of either registered nurses or physicians. There are some differences in LPN supervision and LPN duties by state, but there is general agreement about most of their work.

Licensed practical nurses provide direct patient care and record information. They report back to nurses or physicians. They are the most hands-on part of the team, also the ones who communicate information about a patient to other providers.

LPNs can provide basic nursing care in a hospital setting. In the hospital, they record vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They take care of the patient directly, by changing wound or surgical dressings, applying hot and cold compresses, giving massages and alcohol rubs, and administering enemas when necessary. Practical nurses clean and assemble equipment for patient use, including necessary equipment for oxygen therapy, intravenous therapy, and indwelling catheters. LPNs collect samples for lab tests, and do simple tests themselves. Some states allow them to start intravenous lines, some do not. Some states let them give oral and injectable medications, some do not. Practical nurses might help doctors or registered nurses do procedures. In some areas they help deliver and take care of babies. Duties vary not just by state but also depend on where the LPN is working.

They can be on intravenous therapy teams, and learn other special procedures so they can work in critical care settings.

In all cases they keep meticulous records about their patients' condition. They note the amount of fluids taken in and going out, how much food the patient is eating, and the condition of the patient's wound or surgical site. They recognize, record, and report any changes in the patient's condition and any adverse reaction to treatment. They record any medication administered, and how much oxygen is being used.

LPNs also provide patients with assistance in some day-to-day activities of daily living. They can help patients who cannot walk very much with range of motion exercises. They assist patients as they walk and go to the bathroom. They may bathe patients, and help dress them. They may help feed patients.

There are additional tasks hospital LPNs can do, if they get extra training and certification. They can be on intravenous therapy teams, and learn other special procedures so they can work in critical care settings.

In a doctor's office, an LPN may take and record patients' medical histories and report them to the physician. They may help with insurance forms and other paperwork. They will also record vital signs in an office setting. They may do other tasks similar to what they do in the hospital, such as clean and dress wounds. They often help educate patients and their families. They also may make appointments and help keep records.

In nursing homes, LPNs help devise plans for residents based on their needs. Experienced LPNs may supervise nurses' aides. They supervise or deliver most of the care in a nursing home. When working in patients' homes, practical nurses will teach family members how to do some of what the patients need. They might also help prepare appropriate meals, taking the patient's illness and condition into account.

Wherever they work, licensed practical nurses do the things a lot of people think of as nursing. They are often called "angels in comfortable shoes."

Schools offering LPN Programs

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
4 Program(s) Found
  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), and Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • First campus was opened in 1946, now with 22 campuses across the United States.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
  • Provides flexible scheduling options are available; day, afternoon, and evening classes are available Monday through Saturday and terms begin in October, January, April, and June.
  • Offers bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificate programs in legal studies, business administration, healthcare, nursing, accounting, and more.
  • Assists students with various academic and career advising services.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
South College , Knoxville
  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for their Physician Assistant program in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Campus is 56,000 square feet of modern lecture classrooms, specialty laboratories with state-of-the art equipment, writing and math lab, student center, and more.
  • Programmatic accreditation from several organizations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
3 Program(s) Found
ITT Technical Institute , Online (campus option available)
  • Through an agreement with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, its Yellow Ribbon Program provides tuition contributions to eligible students at a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Offers career-focused, degree programs to over 70,000 students at over 140 ITT Technical Institutes in 38 states.
  • Classes are offered year-round, typically in the daytime and evening. Online courses can be accessed anywhere, 24 hours a day. 
  • Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools were designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC).
  • 8 campuses across the United States.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid