[UPDATED Dec. 2022] Preliminary data from the 2022 Survey of California Registered Nurses indicate that RN employment has remained stable over the past four years but many older RNs have left nursing. With a shortage of RNs, employers are increasing their efforts to retain RNs and develop career paths for newly-graduated RNs. It appears there is no better time than the present for young adults to start a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. If you are looking to get your foot in the door of the healthcare field, studying to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) might just be the perfect fit for you.
But hold on, wait, what exactly is a licensed vocational nurse? An LVN, as defined by the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT), is “an entry-level health care provider who is responsible for rendering basic nursing care.” LVNs work in medical settings next to doctors and registered nurses, performing tasks like taking blood pressure, changing bandages and maintaining patients’ health records. Depending on the state in which you are employed, a licensed vocational nurse’s role may be vastly different than that of LVNs in other states.
To help you figure out if studying to become a licensed vocational nurse is the right move, below are a few positives and three not-as-positives to consider before enrolling in an LVN program.
CON: Responsibilities Are Limited
Licensed vocational nurses work under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses in a variety of different medical settings. Some of the common tasks licensed vocational nurses execute include the following:
- Monitoring a patient’s health (e.g., blood pressure, temperature)
- Administration of basic care (e.g., applying/changing bandages, inserting catheters)
- Listening to and addressing patient concerns
- Maintaining patient health records
The responsibilities of an LVN are not as extensive as those of a registered nurse (RN), as RNs are able to administer medicine and perform a wider array of jobs. It is worth noting, however, that your role as an LVN may vary greatly depending on the state in which you are employed and the medical establishment for whom you work. But, the tasks still play a vital role in the overall care of patients.
PRO: Start Working Sooner
In studying to be an LVN, you will be able to complete your education and prepare for a career in a shorter period of time. Most LVN programs can be completed in 12 and 20 months, whereas other nursing education programs can take more than twice that time to finish.
CON: Do Similar Work as RNs with a Different Pay Scale
While the responsibilities of RNs and LVNs are quite similar, there are some differences. RNs for example, are allowed to administer medications, vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, whereas LVNs are not permitted to do so, save for some rare exceptions.
LVNs work under the guidance of RNs, though the responsibilities are similar. The biggest difference is the pay scale. RNs earned a median salary of $77,600 in 2021, according to the BLS, whereas LVNs earned a median salary of $48,070 during the same time frame.
PRO: Many Options to Further Your Education
The good thing about studying to become an LVN is that once you earn your certification and work for a little while, there are programs available for you to upgrade your occupational title to registered nurse (RN).
There are also LVN to BSN (Bachelor of Science of Nursing) programs offered nationwide if such a degree would be more useful in making your nursing dreams a reality. Advancing your education allows to you to specialize in an aspect or type of nursing that perhaps sparked your interest during your LVN program or time in the workforce as an LVN.
PRO: Make a Difference in the Lives of Patients
Fewer things in life are more gratifying than the knowledge that you helped make a difference in someone’s life. If you are considering a degree in the health care field, it is a fairly safe bet that you realize this and wish to do something about it.
An aspect of an LVN’s job that cannot be overstated is listening to patients. Hearing what they are saying and making them comfortable contribute greatly toward treatment and their overall wellbeing.
Discover the Summit Licensed Vocational Nursing Difference
A thorough education can help you, an aspiring licensed vocational nurse, separate yourself from the pack of other LVN candidates when looking for your first nursing job. Summit College’s is one of the largest and best LVN programs in the state of California. The program is also accredited by the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians.
As a student enrolled in Summit College’s LVN program, you will receive a well-rounded nursing education that will allow you to provide optimal patient care after you pass your licensure exam.
Summit College offers both full-time and evening & weekend enrollment in its LVN program, providing you with flexibility around the other obligations in your life. The full-time program offers classes during the day and can be completed in 12 months. The evening & weekend program offers classes during evenings and weekends to accommodate students who work other jobs. Students in the evening & weekend program complete it in 18 months. Summit College offers its Licensed Vocational Nursing program at its Colton Campus.
Summit College offers plentiful resources to its licensed vocational nursing students to help them prepare for the NCLEX. Such resources include full-time NCLEX tutors and NCLEX review classes, which are offered for free as part of enrollment in the program.
Summit College also offers you career assistance beyond acquiring your vocational nursing license, including resume help and mock interviews. These resources can help you capitalize on lucrative entry-level health care jobs. In 2021, LVNs in California earned an annual mean salary of $65,140.
Licensed vocational nurses are able to get into the thick of nursing and help better the lives of patients. The need for nurses will not be going away any time soon. Discover the Summit Difference. Launch your rewarding LVN career today by visiting us at summitcollege.edu or by calling (888) 504-2552 to speak to one of our friendly representatives.