Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), are health care practitioners who have direct, hands-on care of those people who are suffering from injuries, illness, disability or are residents of convalescent or nursing homes.In addition the nurse job description permits them to have supervisory care of others who are in direct care of patients or clients.
Every state's requirement for the licensure of LVN and LPN's is unique to that state. The State Board of Nursing defines what each nurse is permitted to do in a state nurse practice act. Keeping your license in your state is dependent upon following your nurse practice act. Nurses are required to perform under the supervision of another, LPNs, under the supervision of an RN or physician, RN under the direction of a physician.
This is not to say that all states require a direct line of sight supervision of the nurse. They do not. The nature of the words supervision vary, like the nurse practice act, from state to state. In some states or areas, there are given nurse job descriptions which afford the nurse the right to practice a certain aspect of nursing. The facility may, at its own discretion, either permit or deny the nurse the right to perform that function or duty. While they may not encourage a nurse to function outside of the restraints of the nurse practice act, they may in fact limit the duties to be less than the nurse job description permits them to accomplish.
The hands on care for which LPN's may be responsible for will also vary. In the vast majority of cases, the LVN/LPN nurse job description is inclusive of providing direct care to patients in hospital, nursing home, home health care, convalescent homes, and other settings.
That direct care may include:
Vital signs-height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, respirations.
Cather insertion and care
Post Surgical care
As a portion of their work, LPN and LVN's may insert IV's, perform lab tests, record I&O measurements,attend heart monitors, clean medical supplies and equipment, assist in labor and delivery as well as report and treat allergic or adverse medication reactions. They will also take health history, assist in patient care planning,offer hospital release instructions and teach family members about the care that a relative may require.
While nearly all LPN's or LVN's are general nurses, some will work and specialize in certain specific areas. The medical surgical field is a draw to many, while others opt for geriatrics.Nurse job descriptions for the LPN-LVN will not only vary state to state, but also from facility to facility. In many areas a nurse can pronounce death, while in others they may not. LPNS in a nursing home facility traditionally enter into supervisory positions, responsible for the care that others offer to the clients and families.
The nursing shortage of present day means that some nurse job descriptions have changed to allocate that the LVN-LPN is supervisory only and does medication and treatments, while nursing assistants render the vast majority of the care that the patient will receive aside from wound treatment and medication.
This is often found in the environment of the nursing home or convalescent care facility. LPN and LVN are often the charge nurse of the facility, answerable to a supervisor who may not be in the facility at the time.
The LPN or LVN should be someone who enjoys learning new tasks and skills and enjoys an environment of learning. In several states the LVN or LPN is required to take clinical and-or other means of learning new skills on a yearly basis. Additionally the pharmacology changes which are made in any given year are something that the nurse will be required and desirous of being knowledgeable about.
While the yearly license renewal is not the norm, it is the case in some states. Nearly all states require that continuing education credits be earned each year, with a given number of CEU's required to gain license renewal. In addition to this, it is within most nurse job descriptions that licensed nurses are required to maintain CPR and AED certification, recertifying yearly, in most facilities in which they will practice.