Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LP/VN)
- Works with other health care team members in rendering care in complex situations.
- Uses Nursing Process of assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation to deliver care.
- May render total patient care, administer medications, perform treatments, communicate with other health care team members, report information, assess individuals, plan for the delivery of care, etc.
- May focus on areas such as Pharmacology, Long-Term Care, and Infusion Therapy.
- Usually supervised by a registered nurse.
- Becomes involved with patient care at the direction of the supervising nurse, physician, or dentist.
Who is a Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LP/VN)?
The Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LP/VN) provides direct nursing care to individuals who are in stable condition. The LP/VN also works with other health care team members in rendering care in complex situations. The LP/VN uses the Nursing Process of assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation in the delivery of care to individuals. The term Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is the recognized title in Texas and California. All other states use the title of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The LP/VN designation includes both.
What does an LP/VN do?
The LP/VN provides care to individuals in many health care settings. These include acute and sub-acute care settings, long-term care facilities, physicians’ offices, public health organizations, free-standing clinics, walk-in centers, home care, and rehabilitation organizations.
What education, training, and experience must one have to function as an LP/VN?
The LP/VN graduates from a state-approved educational program, which is most often a one-year program. These programs can be located in community colleges, vocational/technical schools, or hospitals. Some programs are conducted by proprietary organizations.
Additional certifications are available for the LP/VN in areas such as Pharmacology, Long-Term Care, and Infusion Therapy.
How and by whom is an LP/VN supervised?
The LP/VN works at the direction of a registered nurse, licensed physician, and/or dentist.
What are the typical day-to-day activities of an LP/VN?
The LP/VN provides direct care to individuals. Thus, the typical day will reflect the health care setting. The LP/VN may render total patient care, administer medications, perform treatments, communicate with other health care team members, report information, assess individuals, plan for the delivery of care, contribute to the care plan, direct aspects of care as appropriate to unlicensed assistive personnel, and participate in patient teaching.
Must an LP/VN be licensed or certified to function in his or her role as part of the health care team?
The LP/VN must pass a licensing examination upon completion of the educational program in order to be licensed. Licensure is granted by the state. Each state has a Board of Nursing, which regulates all nursing practice within that state. Proof of continued competency is required by many states in order for the LP/VN to maintain licensure. However, it is the responsibility of the LP/VN to maintain competency by engaging in continuing education.
What types of patients would benefit from the care of the LP/VN?
Those who benefit from the care of the LP/VN are individuals in need of nursing care in a variety of settings, from acute care hospitals to home health care.
How and when does the LP/VN become involved with the care of a particular patient?
The manner in which the LP/VN becomes involved with the care of individuals is determined by the employment setting, but would be at the direction of the supervising nurse, physician, or dentist.
Professional organization for LP/VNs:
G. Constance Butherus, MA, RN, National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc
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