If a person is looking to enter into the field of nursing in a short amount of time, it can be of the utmost benefit to pursue the career path of a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). To do so, a student must successfully complete a top LVN program, which usually takes about one to two years. After doing so, licensure must then be obtained. Continue reading to learn about the educational and career path of licensed vocational nurses.
Licensed Vocational Nurse Program
It is through a top LVN program that students learn how to perform a wide range of nursing-related duties. This type of program is typically offered through technical and community colleges located all across the United States. Even though this type of program consists of large amounts of classroom lecture and coursework, much of it is also comprised of hands-on training. After graduating, students are prepared to enter into entry-level positions found in the field of nursing.
To enter into a top LVN program, students must first possess a high school diploma; however, some schools will accept a GED as a substitute. There are many schools that require students to first obtain certification as a certified nursing assistant as well. Furthermore, some schools mandate students complete college-level English and biology courses before enrolling in an LVN program.
Understanding the Coursework
Courses found in a top LVN training program will be comprised of introductory coursework. The training acquired will provide students with a broad overview of the nursing industry, with most courses focusing on the following topics:
- – Pharmacology
- – Fundamental nursing practices
- – Anatomy
- – Medical-surgical nursing
- – Human nutrition
- – Legal and ethical nursing issues
- – Microbiology
- – Physiology
- – Psychology
- – Geriatric nursing
Career Outlook for Licensed Vocational Nurses
From the year 2008 through the year 2018, the number of job positions found for licensed practical nurses is expected to increase by at least 20 percent; this high rate of growth will translate into more than 155,000 job openings. Many of these new positions are believed to be made available due to the ever-increasing health needs of the aging population.
Salary Level of Licensed Vocational Nurses
During the year 2010, the average salary of a licensed vocational nurse who graduated from a top LVN program was more than $41,000 a year. With several years of experience, this type of nurse can expect to make upwards of $50,000 a year.
Obtaining Licensure as a Licensed Vocational Nurse
It is important to note that after completing a top LVN program, a graduate is not entirely ready to enter into the workforce as an LVN. Instead, he or she must also pass an exam, with this exam most commonly being referred to as the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. The exact way to go about obtaining licensure is determined by the state in which a person wants to perform his or her services; however, no matter the state, continuing education is required to maintain licensure.
Future Career Paths
Many people that take part in a top LVN program choose to continue their education and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Some even choose to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing. With either type of degree, a person is sure to notice an increase in employment opportunities, with many of them leading to a significant increase in pay.
Choosing a Top LVN Program
When choosing an LVN program, it is of the utmost importance to choose one that is accredited as well as state-approved. In both California and Texas, there are boards of nursing that make available a list of accredited programs that can be viewed online. It is through top LVN programs that students receive all of the necessary education that it takes to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. To make sure a top LVN program is chosen, it is wise to ask for a school’s passing rate of the licensure exam. Programs with low passing rates should be avoided.
Another great way to go about choosing a top LVN program is to enroll in one that provides its students with extensive clinical experience opportunities. The program should also teach students how to handle the demanding factors of working in the nursing field, such as long-work hours and odd shift changes. If a student has a particular setting he or she wishes to work in after graduating from an LVN program, it is best to take part in a program that offers clinical rotations in a similar setting. For example, if a student desires to work in a pediatric clinic, it will be beneficial to enroll in a program that provides opportunities for the student to gain first-hand experience working in a local pediatric office.
Furthermore, students often find it advantageous to attend a program that allows for educational mobility to take place. Such a program will be one that counts the completed LVN coursework towards the earning of a higher-level degree. By attending this type of program, students will find it much simpler to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree down the road if they desire to.
LVN Certificate Program
It is important to keep in mind that not all top LVN programs lead to the earning of a diploma. Instead, some of them lead to the earning of a certificate. Even though a certificate program takes about the same amount of time to complete as a diploma program, many employers prefer for an LVN to possess a diploma rather than a certificate. When choosing a school, students will do best to choose one that offers an LVN diploma program.
What Does an LVN Do?
A top LVN program will be one that teaches its students how to effectively carry out the many tasks performed by licensed vocational nurses. Such tasks include:
- – Massaging patients
- – Changing bedpans
- – Bathing patients
- – Giving enemas
- – Administering injections
- – Treating bedsores
- – Dressing wounds
- – Monitoring catheters
- – Helping patients walk and eat
- – Checking vital signs
- – Maintaining patient records
- – Perform basic laboratory tests
- – Clean equipment
- – Schedule appointments
- – Answer the phone
- – Oder supplies
- – Collect fluid samples
- – Communicate with insurance companies
Skills Needed to Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse
To successfully graduate from a top LVN program, a student must prove he or she has mastered the necessary skills needed to become an LVN. Such skills include:
- – Strong interpersonal skills
- – Ability to multitask
- – Be in good physical shape
- – Extremely attentive to detailed instructions
- – Great communication skills
- – Ability to analyze information
- – Top-notch time management skills