Licensed Practical Nurse  What They Do

Just the Facts


Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Career Video



Cares for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Administers prescribed medications or starts intravenous fluids, noting times and amounts on patients' charts.
  • Observes patients, charting and reporting changes in patients' conditions, such as adverse reactions to medication or treatment, and taking any necessary action.
  • Answers patients' calls and determines how to assist them.
  • Measures and records patients' vital signs, such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration.
  • Provides basic patient care or treatments, such as taking temperatures or blood pressures, dressing wounds, treating bedsores, giving enemas or douches, rubbing with alcohol, massaging, or performing catheterizations.
  • Works as part of a healthcare team to assess patient needs, plan and modify care, and implement interventions.
  • Supervises nurses' aides or assistants.
  • Evaluates nursing intervention outcomes, conferring with other healthcare team members as necessary.
  • Assembles and uses equipment, such as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, or oxygen suppliers.
  • Records food and fluid intake and output.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Related Careers


Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Phlebotomist --
  • LPN --
  • Medical Care Technician --