Do you enjoy nursing sick people back to health? Have you ever been fascinated by jobs in the healthcare sector? Vocational nursing is an ideal option for people who enjoy giving care. A licensed vocational nurse or licensed practical nurse is an integral part of any healthcare team. This is an entry-level position and if you enjoy working in this field, there are lots of opportunities to grow and become a certified nurse assistant.
How do you know whether a career in vocational nursing is right for you? And what is LVN school? Read on to find out.
What Is An LPN/LVN?
The terms LPN and LVN are interchangeable. In some states, they have LPN whereas, in other states, they have LVN. An LVN/LPN is a healthcare professional responsible for a patient’s primary care. An LVN works under a registered nurse and reports to them.
What Does An LPN/LVN Do?
An LVN performs a number of tasks. Their main responsibilities include taking the vital signs of their patients, administering medicines, preparing patients for various medical procedures, and assisting surgeons in the operation theatre. In some states, LVNs are not allowed to administer intravenous medication.
Only the registered nurse can do it. An LVN must be a good listener and possess excellent communication skills. In the absence of the doctor, the LVN has the responsibility to communicate with the family members of the patient.
Where do LVNs work?
An LVN can work in a variety of settings. For example, they can work in a hospital, nursing home, doctor’s office, or other medical facilities. They can also work in an assisted living center or in a school where they provide medical aid to children.
The work schedule varies considerably. While some LVNs work 9-hour shifts, others may have 12-hour shifts. Some work on the weekends while others work only during weekdays. Your schedule depends on the kind of facility you are working for.
How much does an LVN earn?
An entry-level licensed nurse earns $17.10/hour on average. Experienced nurses will earn more. The average annual salary of an experienced LVN is $48,820. Those who have been in this profession for a long time can expect to earn $65,520 a year
The job outlook for an LPN/LVN
Licensed vocational nurses have excellent job prospects. The demand for LVNs is expected to increase at a rate of 9.27% by 2030. That means those who are entering the field will not have much difficulty finding a job.
Do you have what it takes to be an LVN?
An LVN works with patients all the time. This job is ideal for people who enjoy giving care and support to sick people. An LVN may have to work night shifts. They may also have to work on the weekends. This is not very fun. When you work night shifts, you will be sleeping during the day and this seriously limits the amount of time you get to spend with your spouse or children.
Also, the job is physically demanding. You will be on your feet for hours on end. You have to assist your patients with a lot of tasks. Some of these tasks such as transferring a heavy patient from the bed to the wheelchair may require more effort than others. If caregiving is not your forte, you had better not choose this profession.
How to become an LVN?
The first step is to complete your high school diploma or GED. Once you have earned your high school diploma, you have to enroll in an LVN training program offered by an LVN school. Sometimes there is a Pre-Admission Exam.
What is an LVN school?
An LVN school is a vocational nursing school that offers training in vocational nursing. Community colleges also offer LVN training programs. Make sure that the training program you choose is accredited by the National League of Nursing Accrediting Agency (NLNAC).
A full-time LVN program can be completed in 12 months whereas evening or weekend programs take 18 months to complete.
After completing the training program, you have to apply for authorization. You have to do this through the local state board of nursing and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. After you have received the authorization to test, you have to write your licensing exam (NCLEX-PN). You will receive the results in about six weeks. If you pass the licensure exam, they will mail you the license. You can start applying for LVN jobs now.
Difference between an LVN and RN
Vocational nurses and registered nurses have similar responsibilities. Both of them work in a variety of medical settings and provide care to patients. However, the scope of work is much bigger for an RN. They can administer intravenous drugs or vaccines. LVNs are not allowed to do this. The pay scale is also considerably different. While in 2021, the average annual salary of an RN was $77,600, it was $48,070 for an LVN.
On the other hand, most LVN training programs can be completed in 12 to 20 months. By contrast, nursing education programs can take twice as much to complete. That makes LVN an ideal option for people who want to start working shortly after they finish high school. Also, after working as an LPN for a few years, you can upgrade your job title to registered nurse by completing a nursing education program. There are also LVN to BSN programs offered nationwide.
If you are passionate about making a difference in someone’s life, you will enjoy being a licensed vocational nurse. Note that an LVN should have excellent listening skills. You should listen intently to what your patients are saying and offer them comfort as it goes a long way in ensuring their wellbeing.
One of the most rewarding things about working as a vocational nurse is the emotional gratification you receive from knowing that your work is positively touching someone’s life. Of course, this is a demanding job, and work hours can be odd. Still, if you enjoy providing care, this is a stable job with a nice pay scale. You also have the option to upgrade your skills after working as an LVN for a couple of years.
On the downside, you are not in charge of your patients. You work under a registered nurse and will be constantly told what to do. If you need more autonomy at work, vocational nursing probably isn’t the right choice for you.