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Licensed Vocational Nurse Duties

Licensed vocational nurses, also known as licensed practical nurses, work under doctors and registered nurses to provide care for patients in a hospital or health care center. Licensed vocational nurses can work in other health care settings but it is to a lesser degree than they are found in hospitals and care centers. These nurses help out by caring for patients in ways that the physicians or registered nurses do not have the time to do in their schedule. They take care of many routine tasks which make the patient more comfortable. They also take the time to talk to the patients and build a relationship with them.

Licensed vocational nurses provide basic care and are most often responsible for the routine bedside care that patients depend on. Licensed vocational nurses measure and record vital signs like blood pressure, respiration, height, weight, temperature and pulse. They also give injections and enemas, monitor catheters and dress any wounds. They also provide assistance with the patient’s personal hygiene by assisting with bathing, dressing, brushing their hair and maybe teeth. They assist patients who need help getting around by helping them in and out of bed or by supporting them while walking if they need the help. In some cases they will help feed patients who cannot feed themselves.

Other duties for licensed vocational nurses are to collect specimens for lab tests. They also monitor fluid and food intake and record what the patient ate and drank. Licensed practical nurses monitor patients and report any negative reactions to medications or treatments. These nurses also interview patients to find out how they are feeling that day and to collect their medical history when they are first admitted. They sometimes complete insurance forms, preauthorizations, doctor recommendations and after-care forms and will explain to family members how to care for a patient after they are discharged.

For the most part, licensed vocational nurses are generalists and will work in any area of a hospital or care center. There are occasions where they will be specialized to one specific area of health care, like in a nursing home or in home health care. They can be stationed in one specific area of a hospital long enough to become specialized in that division. For example, if a licensed vocational nurse was located in the neonatal or nursery unit they would help with the delivery, care and feeding of the infants after they were born.