According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Licensed practical nurses care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses."
LPNs care for patients in many ways. Often, they provide basic bedside care. Many LPNs measure and record patients’ vital signs such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also prepare and give injections and enemas, monitor catheters, dress wounds, and give alcohol rubs and massages. To help keep patients comfortable, they assist with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, moving in bed, standing, and walking.
Experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and aides. As part of their work, LPNs collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, and record food and fluid intake and output. They clean and monitor medical equipment. Sometimes, they help physicians and registered nurses perform tests and procedures. Some LPNs help to deliver, care for, and feed infants. LPNs also monitor their patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments.
LPNs often teach family members how to care for a relative or teach patients about good health habits. Most LPNs are generalists and work in all areas of health care. However, some work in a specialized setting, such as a nursing home, a doctor’s office, or in home health care. LPNs in nursing care facilities help to evaluate residents’ needs, develop care plans, and supervise the care provided by nursing aides. In doctors’ offices and clinics, they may be responsible for making appointments, keeping records, and performing other clerical duties. LPNs who work in home health care may prepare meals and teach family members simple nursing tasks. In some States, LPNs are permitted to administer prescribed medicines, start intravenous fluids, and provide care to ventilator-dependent patients.
(U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics)