What is a Licensed Vocational Nurse?

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Have you been thinking about becoming an LVN but are unsure of what LVNs are and what they do? Licensed vocational nurses, or LVNs, are professionals who work within the nursing field. These types of nurses are responsible for a wide range of tasks while working under the supervision of registered nurses and/or doctors.

Educational Requirements

For you to become an LVN, you must attend a one or two year training program that offers an approved LVN program. There are thousands of facilities that offer such programs both online and on campuses. You can even choose to pursue a specialty certification if you wish.

After completing an approved LVN program, you will then need to apply for and take the National Council's Licensing Exam for Vocational/Practical Nurses, or NCLEX-PN. This is a two-part test that contains a written section and a practical skills evaluation. You must pass this exam before you can apply for licensing in your state.

Common Responsibilities

LVNs can be found working in a variety of medical settings including clinics, private practices, hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient care facilities. While many of their responsibilities are routine, some can be complex. Nevertheless, some common tasks you may need to perform as an LVN are as follows:

  • Taking and Recording Vital Signs
  • Monitoring Patients
  • Charting Changes in Patients' Conditions
  • Administering Injections
  • Changing Dressings
  • Administering IV Fluids

Current Job Outlook

There is a high demand for professionals in all areas of the medical field, and it is no different for LVNs. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LVN job opportunities are expected to increase at a rate of about 21 percent until 2018. This is mainly due to a growing population of seniors and an increased awareness of the need for regular healthcare.

Average National Salary

Currently, the national average salary for licensed vocational nurses is about $46,000 per year. However, the salary you will earn depends on many factors and can range anywhere from $29,000 to as much as $76,000 per year. Common factors that can affect your salary include location, employer, education and experience.

Training to become a licensed vocational nurse is a terrific choice today, and those who enter the field enjoy many wonderful benefits. Just a few of the benefits you can enjoy as an LVN include flexible work schedules, excellent salaries, benefit packages and opportunities for advancement.