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Become A Licensed Practical Nurse

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Working As A Licensed Practical Nurse

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $38,956

    Average Salary

What Does A Licensed Practical Nurse Do

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic medical care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors.


Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses typically do the following:

  • Monitor patients’ health—for example, by checking their blood pressure
  • Administer basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
  • Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress
  • Discuss the care they are providing with patients and listen to their concerns
  • Report patients’ status and concerns to registered nurses and doctors
  • Keep records on patients’ health

Duties of LPNs and LVNs vary, depending on their work setting and the state in which they work. For example, they may reinforce teaching done by registered nurses regarding how family members should 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.

LPNs and LVNs may be limited to doing certain tasks, depending on the state where they work. For example, in some states, LPNs with proper training can give medication or start intravenous (IV) drips, but in other states LPNs cannot perform these tasks. State regulations also govern the extent to which LPNs and LVNs must be directly supervised. For example, an LPN may provide certain forms of care only with instructions from a registered nurse.

In some states, experienced licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses oversee and direct other LPNs or LVNs and unlicensed medical staff.

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How To Become A Licensed Practical Nurse

Becoming a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse (LPN or LVN) requires completing an approved educational program. LPNs and LVNs also must have a license.


LPNs and LVNs must complete an approved educational program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete, but may take longer. They are commonly found in technical schools and community colleges, although some programs may be available in high schools or hospitals.

Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology. All programs also include supervised clinical experience.

Contact state boards of nursing for lists of approved programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs and LVNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN or LVN. For more information on the NCLEX-PN examination and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

LPNs and LVNs may choose to become certified through professional associations in areas such as gerontology and IV therapy. Certifications show that an LPN or LVN has an advanced level of knowledge about a specific subject.

In addition, employers may prefer to hire candidates who are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Compassion. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses must be empathetic and caring toward the people they serve.

Detail oriented. LPNs and LVNs need to be responsible and detail oriented, because they must make sure that patients get the correct care at the right time.

Interpersonal skills. Interacting with patients and other healthcare providers is a big part of their jobs, so LPNs and LVNs need good interpersonal skills.

Patience. Dealing with sick and injured people may be stressful. LPNs and LVNs should be patient, so they can cope with any stress that stems from providing care to these patients.

Physical stamina. LPNs and LVNs should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for a long time.

Speaking skills. It is important that LPNs and LVNs be able to communicate effectively. For example, they may need to relay information about a patient’s current condition to a registered nurse.


With experience, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses may advance to supervisory positions. Some LPNs and LVNs advance to other healthcare occupations. For example, an LPN may complete a LPN to RN education program to become a registered nurse.

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3,484 Licensed Practical Nurse jobs More

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Real Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses St. Jude Home Health Corporation Downey, CA Apr 07, 2010 $58,436 -
Licensed Vocational Nurse St. Jude Home Health Corporation Downey, CA May 31, 2012 $58,240 -
Licensed Vocational Nurse Oakgrove Spring Care Center Oakland, CA Sep 09, 2010 $57,205
Rn/Lvn Supervisor Trisun Healthcare LLC Austin, TX Oct 01, 2010 $54,554
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Edgewater Convalescent Hospital, Inc. Long Beach, CA Dec 17, 2010 $54,262
Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurse The Center at Parkwest CA Jan 27, 2011 $53,331
Licensed Practical Nurse United Staffing Registry DBA United Home Care NY Nov 27, 2009 $52,175
Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurses Young Tigers Inc. DBA Total Care Home Health Agenc Riverside, CA Dec 29, 2010 $52,000
Licensed Practical Nurse Oak Park, LLC Perth Amboy, NJ Nov 17, 2011 $52,000
Licensed Practical Nurse Oak Park LLC Perth Amboy, NJ Sep 15, 2012 $52,000
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Top Skills for A Licensed Practical Nurse


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Top Licensed Practical Nurse Skills

  1. Wound Care
  2. Vital Signs
  3. CNA
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Administered medications, performed wound care, breathing treatments, bladder scans, and tube feedings.
  • Obtain past medical and surgical history, family history, social history, and vital signs.
  • Trained and managed 3-4 CNA's and achieved significant improvements in their productivity.
  • Worked in a small Emergency room, was LPN/tech.
  • Coordinated with Doctors and Registered nurses to develop care plans for patients.

Top Licensed Practical Nurse Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Licensed Practical Nurse

  1. Maxim Healthcare Services
  2. Corizon Health
  3. Correct Care Solutions
  4. PSA Insurance & Financial Services
  5. Epic Health Services
  6. Interim HealthCare
  7. Genesis HealthCare
  8. Signature HealthCARE
  9. BAYADA Home Health Care
  10. Brookdale Senior Living
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Licensed Practical Nurse Videos

Role of Licensed Practical Nurses in Alberta, Canada

LPN Salary Job Overview | Income of a Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Career Video from drkit.org