In this career, your responsibilities may include:
- Checking patient vital signs, recording patient health information, discussing medical care with patients, and providing other basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs).
- Some states allow LPNs/LVNs to administer medication or IV drips.
The terms “Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)” and “Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)” are interchangeable and refer to the same career. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is the more commonly used term, while Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is only used in a few states.
In your job search, you may find job listings for this career under different titles. You can find some examples of these, as well as more information about this career, at Career One Stop.
Typically requires passing an approved certificate program. Obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree in Nursing (ADN or BSN) would allow you to work as a Registered Nurse if you do not already have the U.S. equivalent of an ADN or BSN. LPN to RN bridge programs exist specifically to help LPNs/LVNs transition to a career as a Registered Nurse. These programs will sometimes award some course credit for your previous training and experience.
Certification is not required, but could make employers more likely to hire you or offer you a higher salary.
You may be eligible for one of the following specialty certifications from the National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Service (NAPNES):
The Indiana Center for Nursing maintains a list of additional voluntary specialty certifications.
Licensure is required. Must complete a post-secondary certificate program that typically takes 1 year of study to complete, followed by passing the NCLEX-PN exam.
- Some states allow recent graduates of LPN/LVN programs to practice nursing under supervision for a limited period of time while they await their NCLEX exam date, under a temporary or limited permit or license. Check with your state board of nursing to find out if this can be an option for you.