Difference Between LVN and CNA

Both LVN and CNA are designations for nurses, which they can achieve with the help of their training and experience. Both are branches of the profession of a nurse with different duties and responsibilities.


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Both are inseparable components of the well-being of the patients. They can be distinguished by their performer duty and job profile.

Key Takeaways

  1. LVN is a licensed vocational nurse who can provide basic medical care, while CNA is a certified nursing assistant who provides basic care to patients.
  2. LVNs require more training than CNAs and can perform more advanced nursing procedures.
  3. LVNs are responsible for administering medication, starting IV lines, and monitoring patient progress, while CNAs assist patients with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating.


LVN stands for Licensed Vocational Nurse, and it is a healthcare professional who has completed a practical nursing program and is licensed to practice nursing under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant, and it is a healthcare professional who has completed a state-approved training program and has passed a competency exam.


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A licensed Vocational Nurse or LVN is someone who is able to deliver a certain level of medical attention to the patient. They work in hospitals and other medical centres to serve the patients. They work under RNs, and they are responsible for monitoring a patient’s situation.

A Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA is in charge of the hygiene of the sufferers. CNAs feed, clean and comfort them and protected them. A person needs to go through short training to be able to get a job as a CNA.

Not only in nursing homes and rehabilitation centres, but they are also needed in old age homes to provide care.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLVNCNA
Full form LVN stands for Licensed Vocational Nurse.CNA means Certified Nursing Assistant.
TrainingLVN training program gets complete in a year.CNA training programs take two to six months.
DutiesAn LVN’s main duty includes various medical and administering responsibilities.A CNA’s main duty includes cleaning and assistance-type various works.
WorkplaceLVNs work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and other health centres.CNAs work in nursing homes, old age homes, and rehabilitation centres.
SalaryAn LVN enjoys a higher salary than a CNA.A CNA gets a lower salary comparatively.

What is LVN?

A Licensed Vocational Nurse or LVN provides patients with medical assistance and care. They work under the supervision of an RN or registered nurses.

They are trained to perform some medical executions, and clinical tasks such as keeping records of patients’ symptoms, drawing blood, starting needed intravenous fluids, dressing wounds, administering patients’ medication and vaccinations, monitoring patients’ improvement or deterioration, and they are also capable of assisting doctors during examinations.

They are not capable of working independently. They mostly work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other places that offer medical care. Their fundamental training takes approximately a year, and then they are allowed to get their state license.

They are responsible for the vital duties of a nurse. They are required to have knowledge in nutrition, physiology and first aid. Their aim is to provide patients with basic and immediate treatment and comforting them with the needed care.


What is CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA is a nurse who works closely with the patients.

Their job role is to offer the service of primary care to the patients’ such as feeding them, cleaning them, changing their clothes, giving them baths, and the grooming they need. CNAs are liable to provide patients with the necessary care and support.

Their duties are fulfilled in places like retirement homes, rehabilitation centres and nursing homes. They monitor patients closely and keep the doctor informed with the important details. Their work is not much related to the medical field.

One can become a certified nurse by undertaking the needed training. These training programs are basic and do not take much time to complete. The complete training takes around two to six months.

The job of a CNA is to be responsible for the patients’ well-being and to offer them the services they require.


Main Differences Between LVN and CNA

  1. The full form of LVN is Licensed Vocational Nurse, and the full form of CNA is Certified Nursing Assistant. LVNs must be licensed, but a license is not mandatory for CNAs. They are ready to work once they get certified.
  2. Both go through professional training. LVN training programs take around a year to get completed, whereas CNA training gets finished in two to six months.
  3. The responsibility of an LVN includes professional medical duties and administering works, and a CNA’s main responsibilities are more assistance-type, which includes taking care and cleaning related works.
  4. LVNs work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and other health centres to offer medical attention and treatment, but CNAs work in nursing homes, old age homes, and rehabilitation centres to provide care and attention.
  5. Even though both have high demands, an LVN gets a higher salary offer than a CNA for their clinical knowledge that ensures to take care of the primary medical supervision.
  6. An LVN does not clean the patients or their rooms, but a CNA does perform those duties.
  7. An LNA performs few medical tasks, but a CNA does not do such things.
  8. As the title applies, an LVN needs to get licensed, whereas, for a CNA, a training certificate is enough.
Difference Between LVN and CNA
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525861013005276
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0733464809335243
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