LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) and LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) are pretty much the same thing, a nurse who cares for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled.

In much of the U.S. and Canada, such a nurse is referred to as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). While in California and Texas, they are referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). They are also referred to as Registered Practical Nurse in the Canadian province of Ontario.

It is worth noting that these nurses work under the direction of physicians.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that while most LPNs are generalists and will work in any area of health care, some work in specialized settings. Examples of such, include nursing home, doctor’s offices, and home care.

While in California,licensed vocational nurses’ (LVNs) tasks include emptying bedpans, commode and clean and change incontinent adults. Licensed vocational nurses read vital signs such as pulse, temperature, blood pressure and respiration. They administer injections and enemas, monitor catheters and give massages or alcohol rubs. They may apply dressings, hot water bottles and ice packs. They help patients bathe and dress, treat bedsores and change soiled bed sheets. LVNs feed patients and record their food consumption, while monitoring the fluids they take in and excrete.

It takes a person two years of training in order to become an LPN, with all of U.S. state and territorial boards requiring passage of the NCLEX-PN exam.

In certain circumstances, LPNs/LVNs have opportunities on advancing their career. This includes the possibility of becoming credentialed in a certain area (such as IV therapy, gerontology, long-term care and pharmacology) or of becoming a charge nurse, responsible for overseeing the work of other LPNs and various unlicensed assistive personnel, such as nursing assistants.

LPN-to-RN training programs are available for those who choose to undergo further education and become registered nurses (RNs).

Title: LPN vs LVN, What’s the Difference?

Date Published: August 4, 2018