Work as an LVN entails numerous responsibilities. No one is closer to the patients than the nurses, both in a physical and informational sense. As tightly as one works with the health care team, the role is vitally important by virtue of one's proximity alone. You will be in a unique position to not only implement the health care decided upon but also be the first to see its effects and the improvement of the patient. Some of the LVN's responsibilities include administering the treatment decided upon by the team. This can be something as simple as making sure an individual is taking his pills to applying injections or enemas. However, doling out medication is only one small part of the work.
Job duties differ widely not only by the environment (hospital versus nursing home versus office clinic, etc.) but even more so by state. In some areas, LVNs and other nurses are afforded a great deal more freedom to exercise health care decisions and perform procedures, while some traditional states keep these responsibilities in more traditional hands. Regardless of these differences however, the basics of the job remain the same no matter where you are practicing.
As well as giving medicine like discussed previously, communication and good recording skills are vital to succeed as a nurse. Perhaps the most basic, yet still undeniably important job requirement is the ability to measure and write down vital signs. These numbers form the most fundamental indicator of a patient's health. Typically, vital signs will include temperature, heart rate, blood pressure (systolic and diastolic), and when indicated, breathing rate and oxygen saturation. Nurses need to be able to do all of this and log the findings so that the health team can see the patient's status at a glance.
Lastly, many nurses also need to be well versed in wound care. This is true of young post surgical patients, older bed bound nursing home residents with bed sores, and everyone in between. Basic skills include dressing, cleaning, and infection prevention. A background in medical billing and insurance can also be of benefit to the nurse if you are working in a private practice or office setting. Essentially, there will always be a job to match your skills, but the more well rounded you are as a nurse, the more likely you will find yourself with the ability to pick the job of your choice.