Happy Smiling Boy Talking To Male Nurse In Emergency Room[/caption]Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) provide basic nursing care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors.

Licensed Vocational Nurse duties vary, depending on their work setting. For example, they may teach family members how to care for a relative; help to deliver, care for, and feed infants; collect samples for testing and do routine laboratory tests; or feed patients who need help eating. Experienced VNs oversee and direct other practical nurses or vocational nurses and unlicensed medical staff.


LVNs are typically responsible for monitoring patients’ vital signs, including their blood pressure, pulse, respiration, temperature, height and weight. Other tasks that LVNs are responsible for:

  • Administer prescribed medications or start intravenous fluids.
  • Observe patients, charting and reporting changes in patients’ condition.
  • Provide basic patient care or treatments, such as taking temperatures or blood pressures, dressing wounds, treating bedsores, massaging, or performing catheterizations.
  • Sterilize equipment and supplies.
  • Answer patients’ calls and determine how to assist them.
  • Measure and record patients’ vital signs, including height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration.
  • Work as part of a healthcare team to assess patient needs, plan and modify care, and implement interventions.
  • Collect samples, such as blood, urine, or sputum from patients, and perform routine laboratory tests.
  • Prepare patients for examinations, tests, or treatments and explain procedures.
  • Assemble and use equipment, such as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, or oxygen suppliers.


LVNs must graduate from a vocational nursing program. These programs are usually offered by community colleges and vocational schools, and they usually take about one year to complete. Students enrolled in these programs receive training both in the classroom and in a clinical environment. Subjects covered typically include anatomy, physiology, nutrition, pharmacology, first aid, obstetrics, pediatrics, medical-surgical nursing and patient care.