The healthcare industry continues to boom as the population ages, and the need for healthcare services will only continue to increase. It should come as no surprise that a licensed practical nurse (LPN), also called a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), is a career that continues to be in demand, with over 54,400 projected openings yearly for the next ten years.
So if you’re thinking of becoming an LVN, you’re embarking on a meaningful career opportunity, but it can be daunting, especially if you don’t understand what an LVN job description entails.
Don’t worry, you’re just a step away from understanding more about this fantastic career. Read on to learn everything you need to know about licensed practical nursing duties and how to become an LVN.
LVN Job Description
An LVN works directly with patients, putting this position on the front lines of patient care. LVNs provide direct patient care duties such as:
- Taking vital signs like blood pressure and pulse rate
- Providing comfort
- Providing care like dressing and bathing
- Drawing blood
- Changing bandages and dressings
- Giving certain medications
- Reporting updates to registered nurses and doctors
- Discussing concerns and issues
Depending on where you work, you may also be responsible for more administrative duties, like entering patient information into an electronic health records system.
If you work in a hospital setting like an emergency room, you’ll have a different set of responsibilities such as working with an RN to complete timely assessments and data collection upon admission.
Overall, the scope of what an LVN can and can’t do varies for each state you work in. States like California tend to have a more limited scope than other states, but you’ll still enter into a nursing career that you can build upon.
When you take educational courses to practice as an LVN in your state, you’ll mainly focus on these skills.
Where Can LVNs Work?
LVNs can work in various healthcare settings other than hospitals. You’ll be able to find employment in outpatient clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, home care, and schools.
LVNs also play an important role in long-term care facilities and usually work in teams with a registered nurse.
In most cases, LVNs work full-time, but you can find part-time and temporary options, depending on your career goals. Shifts can range from eight to twelve hours, and you can work nights, weekends, or days.
What Skills Do LVNs Need?
LVNs need essential skills that begin with basic nursing abilities, but you’ll find job descriptions often list specific life skills.
First, LVNs need to have good stamina and be able to stand for long periods during their shifts. While doing this, you need to work calmly under pressure and sensitively communicate medical information.
Communication skills are key in this role. Remember, you’ll usually be the very first person that patients speak to, so you must answer all questions to keep your patients informed. You’re also the one who will need to give patients instructions about various treatments and procedures.
Not only that, but you’ll have to relay accurate information to the patient’s doctors and other caregivers. Knowing how to communicate confidently is crucial in these situations.
Excellent attention to detail along with multitasking skills are necessary to allow you to balance a wide range of patient care tasks during every shift. In addition, you’ll need to be flexible and willing to adapt to unexpected emergencies and complications that can come up.
Registered Nurse vs. Licensed Vocational Nurse
Although you’ll hear of LVNs and RNs working together frequently, they’re different roles altogether.
Registered nurses have more educational training and earn degrees like bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As a result, RNs have more responsibility in the workplace and are responsible for dispensing medications LVNs cannot and may also perform various diagnostic tests.
RNs are also responsible for supervising LVNs and patient care assistants who are on duty.
It’s common to enter nursing as an LVN to gain experience and then enroll in an RN program.
What Educational Requirements Does an LVN Need?
Your first step is to get your high school diploma or a diploma equivalency if you don’t already have one. Many healthcare colleges, like the Healthcare Career College, offer a high school equivalency program, providing support along the way.
Taking this program allows you to take the HiSET exam, which is one of the three tests in the US that measures high school skills.
Enroll in an LVN Program
Enrolling in a vocational nursing program is your next step. The diploma program at Healthcare Career College is 14 months long and gives you an accelerated pathway toward working as a nursing professional.
The benefit of taking an LVN program is its accelerated nature. If you begin by taking an RN course, it can take years to complete, especially if you enroll in a four-year program.
The LVN program includes courses like:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Maternity nursing
- Pediatric nursing
- Medical surgical nursing
- Mental health
You’ll also take courses on leadership and nursing ethics to help prepare you for working with a healthcare team of your own.
This program will give you hands-on training and includes an up-to-date curriculum that ensures you’re keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare.
Take the NCLEX Exam
You’ll also have access to job placement assistance and be prepared to take the NCLEX-PN exam in the state of California.
You’ll qualify to take this exam once you graduate from an accredited practical nursing program. Once you pass this exam, you’ll receive a license that allows you to practice nursing.
Enroll in an LVN Diploma Program Today
Knowing more about the LVN job description will help you to feel more confident about taking the next steps in your career.
You can turn to Healthcare Career College for your healthcare educational needs. We began providing high-quality healthcare training in 1990 in Paramount, CA, and since then have been offering various healthcare programs that ensure a fast pathway toward a solid career.
Our LVN program will give you the training you need to begin a career in 14 months, and we also offer job assistance once you graduate.
Start planning your future by contacting us today for more information about our LVN program in Los Angeles.