What Is a Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) are facing steady demand, which is expected to continue for the next several years. On average, in California LVNs earn $62,410 with a projected growth of 15% through 2028, and in Arizona they earn an average salary of $56,410 with a projected growth of 29%.

Smith Chason School of Nursing offers a Licensed Vocational Nursing program to help you prepare for this type of career. This 15-month nursing program helps you learn the skills needed for a successful career as an LVN.

What Does LVN Mean?

LVN refers to a licensed vocational nurse, which is a nurse who provides patients with basic care. Registered nurses and other healthcare professionals typically supervise LVNs on the job. LVNs are also known as licensed practical nurses (LPNs). These nurses help care for patients in different types of settings, such as hospitals and doctor’s offices, or in patients’ homes through in-home care programs.

Vocational Nursing vs. Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner

Vocational nursing, registered nurse (RN) and nurse practitioner (NP) are different types of careers in the healthcare field. While these nurses all provide some degree of patient care and are able to work in a variety of medical settings, their specific roles and responsibilities may differ. The education required to become one of these nurses is a major difference between these career paths.

LVNs often complete a one- or two-year nursing program and earn their certification. The level of education required for RNs and NPs is higher. NPs are required to have an advanced nursing degree after earning their undergraduate degree from an accredited school. When they’re on the job, NPs handle tasks such as placing orders for diagnostic testing, assessing patients and creating treatment plans.

RNs typically go to college for two or four years and earn a nursing science degree. In addition to providing patient care, they might have other responsibilities, such as supervising vocational nurses or providing patient education.

Licensed Vocational Nurse Job Responsibilities

The job responsibilities of LVNs can vary from state to state. Their duties also depend on the type of facility they work in or the kind of care they provide, such as in-home care. LVNs are able to provide medication in some states, but not other states, for example. States also differ in terms of supervision for LVNs. Some LVNs are allowed to provide specific type of care as long as they have instructions from a supervisor, such as an RN.

Some of the job responsibilities that LVNs have include monitoring patient health and providing basic care. LVNs are sometimes responsible for helping patients with certain tasks, such as getting dressed or taking a bath. LVNs might also be expected to maintain and update patient health records, discuss concerns about patients with supervisors, provide patients with information on the care they are receiving and answer questions patients have about their care. Other duties might include providing families with information on a patient’s care, doing routine lab tests or supervising nurse’s aides and other healthcare workers.

Where LVNs Work

LVNs can work in a wide range of healthcare settings with their degree and certification. According to BLS, nursing and residential care facilities employ the highest percentage of LVNs. Roughly 38 percent of LVNs work in these settings. State, local and private hospitals employ around 14 percent of LVNs, while physician offices employ roughly 13 percent. Some LVNs work in government facilities or provide home healthcare services.

How to Become an LVN

LVNs are required to earn a degree from a one-year or two-year state-approved program and pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN). During an degree program, courses often include nursing fundamentals, communicable disease identification and treatment, physiology, anatomy and physical development in humans. Students in these degree programs might also take courses in pharmacology, leadership skills, medical nursing, surgical nursing and rehabilitation. Specialized areas that LVNs might study include pediatric nursing, gerontology, or maternity nursing.

Smith Chason’s Licensed Vocational Nursing Program

Smith Chason’s Vocational Nursing program provides students with the education and training needed to become an LVN. This program, which has the approval of the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, prepares students for taking the NCLEX licensing exam as well. Students have opportunities for hands-on experience in off-site clinical sites and hospitals and take part in on-campus labs to develop their skills.

If you would like more information on our LVN Diploma Program, please contact Smith Chason School of Nursing today.