Licensed Vocational Nurse vs. Psychiatric Technician


In health care and medicine , not much difference is imputed to the job responsibilities of a licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and to that of a Psychiatric Technician; both are usually called as nurses in common parlance. Nevertheless, both the jobs require totally different qualifications, responsibilities and prospects.

Licensed Vocational Nurses are also called Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Even this term differs from not only from region to region within one country but also from country to country. For instance, while the term is Licensed Vocational Nurse in States like Texas and California, it is Enrolled Nurse in Australia and New Zealand.

Generally, an LVN is expected to undertake mundane as well as intricate health care responsibilities, but always under the express supervision of a registered nurse or at a higher level, a physician. Licensed Vocational Nurses are expected to administer medicine dosages and in some regions other duties as well. These other duties range for administering Intra-venous (IV) medications and IV push medications, tending to wounds and injuries and maintaining patient records. They are also expected to collect blood and urine samples when the need arises.

This type of nurse can also be asked to carry out laboratory diagnostic tests and other analysis procedures like blood and urine analysis. Their job is not just limited to hospitals, but they can be employed in clinics under the direct supervision of physicians. Their services can also be utilized in long term nursing care homes. Here they may have to supervise nursing assistants and orderlies. Another vital responsibility of LVN is to monitor the bodily functions of a patient like temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.

In the U.K., where Licensed Vocational Nurses are also called as State enrolled Nurses; among other duties that they usually are expected to do they help in taking blood samples, record Electrocardiogram (ECG) readings and change wound dressings. In America, Licensed Vocational Nurses have to have a minimum educational qualification of having completed high school. The depending on their individual ambitions sit and qualify for a variety of programs.

The responsibilities and duties of a Psychiatric Technician often seems to be similar to that of a LVN’s. The major difference lies in the field of work that they specialize in. While the LVN can be of assistance in a wide range of health care and medical responsibilities; the PT is specially qualified and trained to be of assistance in dealing with Psychiatric patients. An PT always work under the supervision of professional Psychiatric physicians, assisting individuals suffering from emotional and mental problems.

Psychiatric Technicians work with patients suffering from ailments like depression, dementia or some form of psychosis. Specially when such conditions are palpably visible and causes distress to the patient. Individuals intending to take up the vocation of an PT are expected to be well trained in pharmacology as they have to administer drugs to their patients. They have to understand the dosages prescribed and the effects and side effects of the administration of different drugs in relation to different psychiatric issues.

Whether an LVN or an PT, they from an essential part of a medical team with the responsibilities of giving quality health care to their wards.

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