LVN programs include a variety of LVN courses with an emphasis on health science. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN's) have a similar course of study as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN's). The LPN licensed practical nurse is a title used in most of the United States, while the title LVN licensed vocational nurse is used in California and Texas. LPN nursing and LVN nursing are essentially the same. The title changes depending on which area of the country the nurse is practicing.
Introductory and in-depth study of anatomy and physiology are primary to practical or vocational nursing programs. Thorough knowledge of body systems includes the components of each system (anatomy) and the way body systems work (physiology). Anatomy and physiology can be studied at different levels, depending on the health care profession one is working towards. In LVN programs in California, a lab requirement is not needed when studying anatomy and physiology. This is not the case with RN programs, when laboratory is required for the anatomy component. Further, as in the case of medical students, the anatomy lab is much more in depth than in nursing.
Vocational / Practical nurses are not required to have taken anatomy and physiology before they enter their program. Of course, better preparation for students who have been out of school for a while may mean taking an anatomy and physiology at the junior college level before entering an LVN Licensed Vocational Nursing or LPN Licensed Practical Nursing program. Further study of anatomy and physiology allows complicated concepts and body systems to be understood in the long run. This basic knowledge seems to build upon itself, as in the case of studying the renal system. The structure of the nephron and the overlying peritubular capillaries is a complicated structure in itself. Further complicating mastery of this system are the steps in the formation of urine with the body alternately filtering the blood, taking back (reabsorption of) certain components and finally putting other components back (secretion) into what will finally be excreted as urine.
These concepts are difficult to understand at first, but repetition definitely helps students understand complicated body systems. With a firm grasp of body systems, students are ready to take on the study of the fundamentals of nursing and later on the program, Medical Surgical Nursing. The elements of body systems are reintroduced as students are expected to gain familiarity with body systems such that symptoms can be learned and anticipated. This is the optimum application of the firm background in anatomy and physiology: students are able to anticipate the needs of their clients / patients because of a strong foundation is the most important course of anatomy and physiology.