What is an Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)?

The scope of nursing practice and educational preparation of LVNs in California and Texas are similar to that of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in all other states. In California, the legal definition of vocational nursing is the performance of services requiring those technical, manual skills acquired by means of a course in an accredited school of vocational nursing, or its equivalent, practiced under the direction of a licensed physician or registered professional nurse.

LVNs provide care in structured healthcare settings for patients experiencing common, well defined health-illness problems. They administer nursing care to patients who are ill, injured, disabled, or convalescing and participate in health promotion and disease prevention.

LVNs perform a variety of functions in multiple healthcare settings such as acute and ambulatory care, skilled nursing facilities, prisons, mental health facilities, hospice, and home health . LVNs provide basic bedside nursing care, perform and assist with vital signs and activities of daily living such as comfort, dressing, personal hygiene, nutrition, and activity. LVNs administer oral, topical, and injectable non-parenteral and parenteral medications, wound care, and simple invasive procedures . Therapeutic communication skills are used as the foundation to facilitate the patient's achievement of established healthcare goals. LVNs use the nursing process to help formulate clinical judgements and carry out the nursing plan of care in collaboration with the RN. They work with patients across the lifespan.

With additional certification, LVNs may start and superimpose intravenous lines, perform venipuncture (draw blood), and administer blood products.

For more information about the LVN role and licensing board, please visit the California BVNPT website.

For more information regarding the RCC SON VN Program requirements, please refer to the VN Program Information Sheet.