20 Oct Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
A Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is an entry-level nurse who is qualified to provide healthcare in hospitals, medical centers, aged-care homes, convalescent homes, doctor’s surgeries and other medical facilities.
California and Texas are the only states in America that use the term licensed vocational nurse. Every other state and Canada refers to these nurses as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Both LVN and LPN nursing duties are the same.
Vocational nurses must be licensed by the state to practice nursing. They can then provide healthcare to patients of all ages, from newborn infants to senior citizens. This gives a qualified licensed vocational nurse plenty of options about where he or she would like to work.
An LVN Works Very Closely With Patients
A vocational nurse has a lot of patient contact in their day-to-day duties. However, these young nurses must always be supervised by a physician or a more experienced registered nurse (RN). LVNs provide both physical and emotional support to their patients but their medical duties are limited because of their in experience.
A licensed vocational nurse is usually allowed to take blood from a patient, administer their medications and perform other general nursing duties. Most LVNs are assigned to clean up and bathe patients, change wounds and dressings, take the patient’s temperature and monitor their vital signs.
It is very common for a licensed vocational nurse to work closely with less experienced Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) on a ward but all of these young nurses are guided by experienced RNs.
It Takes At Least A Year To Become An LVN
To become a licensed vocational nurse, you have to undertake a one-year nursing program. To apply for a course you require a high school diploma, although an increasing number of school districts are now providing LVN training in years 9 to 12. This is to help alleviate the growing shortage of trained nurses in the U.S.
Community colleges and medical schools also offer vocational nursing training programs that provide healthcare education in nursing, biology, pharmacology, patient care, anatomy and physiology. But it is very common for graduate a LVN to undertake advanced nursing training in IV therapy, critical care and other clinical subjects once they have completed their nursing course.
If you are thinking about undertaking an LVN training course it is essential that you only enroll in an accredited nursing program. This ensures that you get the proper training so you can sit the examinations to get your nursing license. During your training you will also work in hospitals and other areas of health to get practical knowledge and interact with experienced nurses and physicians.
Once you graduate from an approved nursing program it is mandatory for an LVN to get their nursing license. You will be required to sit and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) which will assess your nursing knowledge regarding the physical care of patients, illnesses, diseases, medications and a wide range of other health related topics.
The NCLEX is a computerized examination in which an LVN is required to answer more than 265 very difficult questions. The National Council Licensure Examination is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and is conducted by each state individually. The NCLEX exam is not and easy exam and you need to prepare thoroughly for it. The test mixes multiple choice questions with fill-ins and has a strict time limit.
Becoming a licensed vocational nurse is your first step on the path to a career in nursing. You an expect to work long hours and extremely hard in a hospital, medical clinic, nursing home or physician’s office. Your starting salary will be about half of that made by an RN and many LVNs usually set their sights on becoming a registered nurses after a few years practical nursing experience.
In the early stages of your career as a vocational nurse you will spend most of your time caring for patients, changing wounds, administering their prescription drugs and undertaking day-to-day laboratory procedures. You’ll also be in contact with patients’ families answering their questions and concerns.
Other vocational nursing tasks include conduction health screens in the community and helping to educate the public about preventative health care. This can take you out to schools, businesses and other work environments. LVNs are also being employed in increasing numbers in the United States military, local community programs, industrial and occupational health centers, schools, correctional centers and home care agencies.
Until recently, most vocational nurses worked in hospitals. But new improvements in medical technology means that many complex medical procedures that were once required to be performed in a hospital or medical center, can now be undertaken in a physician’s office and outpatient centers.
Today, licensed vocational nurses are in great demand these days to perform those tasks once handled by a more highly-paid RN in a doctor’s surgery. This includes simple nursing tasks such as taking a patient’s temperature, measuring their blood pressure, giving them an injection and even performing CPR in an emergency. A vocational nurse working in a doctor’s surgery is supervised by the physician themselves, unlike the RNs who oversee LVNs in hospitals.
Working as a licensed vocational nurse often requires long hours and can be physically demanding. You will spend long hours walking, standing and also have to lift patients on occasions. But the job of an LVN is very fulfilling and is an important first step to a long-lasting career in healthcare.