Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse

Nurses care for people in the hospital or other medical treatment centers. Most nurses are either known as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). Specific duties differ between states.

LPNs utilize a variety of techniques to help patients. LPNs are required to measure and monitor vital signs, and they are trained to administer medications through needles, check catheters, and care for cuts and wounds. LPNs also help incapacitated patients attend to their personal hygiene needs and make sure they are comfortable while situated in a hospital bed. LPNs also frequently assist patients who cannot feed themselves. LPNs who have been working for years often oversee inexperienced nursing assistants.

LPNs also conduct basic diagnostic tests and keep patient records. Many LPN's ensure equipment is maintained and clean. They frequently assist doctors, and many work closely with pregnant women and newborn infants.

LPNs also have the responsibility to keep an eye on patients in case they experience a negative reaction to a medication. They also collect information about a patient's medical history, so they can relay information to physicians and other nurses caring for the patient and fill out insurance forms.

LPNs occasionally meet with patients' families to instruct them about patient care or provide health tips.

The majority of LPNs have a variety of general responsibilities, but many work exclusively in health clinics, convalescent centers, or physician offices. Those working at convalescent centers determine how to care for patients and oversee staff. Those working in medical clinics or for physicians maintain medical records, assist patients, schedule appointments, and perform other duties.

Certain state legislators allow LPNs to prescribe some drugs, administer IVs, and assist patients relying on ventilators or other life saving equipment.

Work environment. Nurses usually work regular 40 hour weeks, but it is not uncommon to work erratic shifts, evenings, and weekends. Nurses are on their feet for extended periods and often assist incapacitated patients walk or reposition themselves in hospital beds.

LPNs work around people with communicable diseases and must take precautions when working with dangerous chemicals or radiation. They must be careful when moving patients, so they do not injury their backs. Nurses are usually constantly busy at work and frequently deal with mentally distraught patients.

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