A Licensed Vocational Nurse, or LVN, works under direct supervision of doctors and registered nurses to treat sick or injured patients. They work in clinics, surgical centers, convalescent homes, and hospitals. Vocational nurses begin as health care generalists, taking vital signs and changing dressings, charting patient information, or helping patients move about. There are 753,600 employed licensed vocational nurses in the country—and more are on the way. Job openings are expected to be especially good at long-term care facilities.
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Preparing for a Career in Licensed Vocational Nursing
There are several pathways to the Licensed Vocational Nurse professions. Students can attend one-year vocational nursing or accelerated licensed vocational nursing degree programs at colleges and technical schools. Accelerated licensed vocational nursing classes focus on developing your skills for the workplace. There are also CNA-to-LVN-degree programs for working certified nurses.
Nurse LVN Education Requirements
After completing a licensed vocational nurse certificate or degree program, you may be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to qualify for certain positions. Accelerated licensed vocational nursing classes in anatomy, obstetrics nursing, pediatrics, gerontology, first aid, pharmacology, and other specialties round out the curriculum. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that working LVNs often return to nursing school for an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing (RN).
Salary Range and Job Outlook for Licensed Vocational Nurses
The median annual wage for licensed vocational nurses was $39,030 in 2008, with top salaries averaging $53,580. The job outlook for vocational nurses is excellent. An overall employment growth of 21 percent is anticipated between 2008 and 2018.