Help hospital patients with daily needs, both medical and non-medical.
What does a Licensed Practical Nurse do?
Licensed practical nurses provide basic care to people who are sick, injured or disabled. Also known as LPNs or “licensed vocational nurses” depending on the state, you work under the supervision of a doctor or a registered nurse. This is because you have less medical training than a registered nurse (LPN training usually takes around a year), but that doesn’t mean your job is less important.
You might work in a hospital, nursing home, extended care facility, doctor’s office, or private home. No matter where you’re employed, your duties are generally similar: patients rely on you to help them complete daily functions like standing, walking, showering, and going to the restroom.
LPNs also monitor vital signs, change dressings, and give injections. You’re the first person to notice when a patient has a bad reaction to a treatment or if her condition changes. It’s critical that you notice these details in a patient’s health and know when to report issues to doctors or other nurses. Your eagle eye will help keep patients healthy and strong.
When you’re not working with patients, you can be found in the lab conducting routine tests or cleaning lab equipment. You also provide administrative support and complete insurance and referral forms.
You have much more direct, intimate contact with patients than anyone else at the hospital, so it’s important to be both emotionally sensitive and physically strong. Lifting patients with mobility issues out of beds and into wheelchairs can take a toll on your body. Seeing patients die while under your care can take a toll on your heart. But the rewards—like seeing a patient recover—can be high.