Be Informed About Your Health Care

This information is being offered as a public service from the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians to you, the health care consumer. The Board licenses vocational nurses (LVNs) and psychiatric technicians (PTs) in California. The Board strives to protect the consumer by establishing exam eligibility requirements; administering examinations; accrediting vocational nursing and psychiatric technician programs; and enforcing the laws and regulations governing the practice of the profession. LVNs and PTs work closely with other health care professionals to provide quality care. LVNs' skills include medical-surgical, maternity and pediatric nursing. PTs' skills primarily focus on mental disorders or illness, and developmental disabilities.

The Board is committed to the promotion of education and practice standards consistent with safe, quality health care. We want you to know your rights as a health care consumer.

Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT)

The BVNPT regulates the education, practice and discipline of licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and psychiatric technicians (PT). Consumer welfare is protected by ensuring that only qualified and competent persons are licensed as LVNs or PTs. State licensure assures the licensee's achievement of specific knowledge, skills and abilities to provide safe, competent care to consumers of all ages.


Licensed vocational nurses work under the supervision of registered nurses (RN) or licensed physicians. LVNs' skills are developed in medical-surgical, maternity and pediatric nursing.


Psychiatric Technicians work under the supervision of the director of their facility. PTs' skills focus primarily on caring for clients experiencing mental disorders or illness, or developmental disabilities.

Healthcare Providers

You may be cared for by RNs, LVNs or PTs. Unlicensed employees such as nursing assistants (CNA) may assist these professionals. You may also receive services from physical therapists, registered dietitians, respiratory care practitioners, occupational therapists, lab technologists and X-ray technicians.

Each healthcare provider is required by law to wear a name tag identifying his/her professional classification (e.g. LVN, PT, RN, Nursing Assistant). Only LVNs or RNs are allowed to use the title "nurse".

Healthcare on the Internet

"The Internet is changing how people give and receive healthcare information and health care. People who use Internet health sites and services share a responsibility to help assure the value and integrity of the health Internet by exercising judgment in using sites"1

Internet Helpful Hints:

  • When using a healthcare site that requests personal data, ask how it will be used.
  • Always inform your personal healthcare provider about healthcare information or products that you received via the Internet.

1Used by permission from ©Ehealth Ethics Initiative 2000
This is not an endorsement.

Questions About Care

Never be afraid to ask questions! Ask questions of your doctor, the staff person caring for you, the unit charge nurse, the unit manager or supervisor or hospital administrative personnel. If the answers you get are unclear ask to speak to someone who can give you clear answers.

It is helpful to write down your questions as you think of them. This helps you to remember all of the questions you wanted to ask.


Medications act in many different ways. Some medications may make you nauseated, some may make you sleepy, and some may cause an allergic reaction. Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you do not feel normal or notice changes in your skin after use of medications. Question any medications with which you are not familiar.

Always tell your doctor or nurse about allergic reactions to drugs.

Patients Rights

As a patient, you have the right to:

  • Receive care by healthcare providers who have been trained by generally accepted standards.
  • Make an informed decision regarding your health care.
  • Receive information and education about your health care problems.
  • Know the level of training of persons caring for you and have these persons wear a name tag that identifies their credentials.
  • Be an active participant in your health care.
  • Call a licensing agency to ask questions or file a complaint with a licensing agency should you believe you have received substandard care.

State Regulatory Agencies

For more information regarding other health care providers, please contact the following State regulatory agencies:

For Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) and Psychiatric Technicians (PT), contact:

The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205
Sacramento, California 95833
Telephone (916) 263-7800; FAX (916) 263-7855

For Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA) and Home Health Aides (HHA), contact:

California Department of Public Health

For Registered Nurses (RN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP), contact:

The Board of Registered Nursing

For Physicians (MD), Physician Assistants (PA), and Medical Assistants (MA), contact:

The Medical Board of California

For Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCP), contact:

The Respiratory Care Board

For questions about managed care organizations, contact:

California Department of Managed Health Care