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Career Profile: Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

Care 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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 688,100 people employed as licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the United States. The median annual salary is $48,800. Entry level employees earn approximately $35,570 per year and senior employees earn approximately $65,520 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Collect samples, such as blood, urine, or sputum from patients, and perform routine laboratory tests on samples.
  • Prepare or examine food trays for conformance to prescribed diet.
  • Help patients with bathing, dressing, maintaining personal hygiene, moving in bed, or standing and walking.
  • Prepare patients for examinations, tests, or treatments and explain procedures.
  • Apply compresses, ice bags, or hot water bottles.
  • Provide medical treatment or personal care to patients in private home settings, such as cooking, keeping rooms orderly, seeing that patients are comfortable and in good spirits, or instructing family members in simple nursing tasks.
  • Sterilize equipment and supplies, using germicides, sterilizer, or autoclave.
  • Make appointments, keep records, or perform other clerical duties in doctors' offices or clinics.
  • Set up equipment and prepare medical treatment rooms.
  • Wash and dress bodies of deceased persons.
  • Clean rooms and make beds.
  • Inventory and requisition supplies and instruments.
  • Observe patients, charting and reporting changes in patients' conditions, such as adverse reactions to medication or treatment, and taking any necessary action.
  • Measure and record patients' vital signs, such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, or respiration.
  • Administer prescribed medications or start intravenous fluids, noting times and amounts on patients' charts.
  • Provide 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.
  • Answer patients' calls and determine how to assist them.
  • Supervise nurses' aides or assistants.
  • Evaluate nursing intervention outcomes, conferring with other healthcare team members as necessary.
  • Work as part of a healthcare team to assess patient needs, plan and modify care, and implement interventions.
  • Record food and fluid intake and output.
  • Assemble and use equipment, such as catheters, tracheotomy tubes, or oxygen suppliers.
  • Assist in delivery, care, or feeding of infants.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
688,100
Annual Openings:
60,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
9%
Annual Salary Range:
$35,570 - $65,520
Education Requirements:
Some college