Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse

Pros


  • You will be working to assist with people who have medical problems alongside other health professionals.
  • There is a minimal amount of training that is required for this type of work.
  • There are expected to be many job openings in this occupation and as such there will be many opportunities available.

Cons

  • The work can be demanding; it is possible that some duties required could include having to physically move patients who are unable to on their own.
  • There are unpleasant duties that are involved in this job. You must be able to handle these types of situations.
  • Medical care facilities are usually twenty-four hour a day operations, so this type of work would require hours that are at night, on weekends and other odd hours.

Overview

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) work alongside other medical professionals to care for patients that are ill or injured. Most of these patients are unable to care for themselves because of their condition. Because of this, there is a great need for medical professional like this to help people until they are able to get well and take care of themselves.

The duties that LPNs and LVNs perform in order to care for their patients varies. Their time in care is spent recording vital statistics, preparing and giving injections, dressing wounds and helping to keep patients feeling comfortable. To do this, LPNs and LVNs will assist patients with basic tasks such as standing, walking and grooming.

A lot of time is spent in this type of work monitoring patients. This is to make sure that medications do not adversely affect patients, or that their health does not worsen. Depending on state regulations, some LPNs and LVNs also can administer medications, start intravenous fluids and help those who are dependant on ventilators to breathe properly.

Although they mostly are found in hospitals, one can find LPNs and LVNs working in any healthcare setting. Some of these environments can include assisted living centers, physician’s offices, government agencies and home health care. Many who are experienced in this field will often supervise nursing assistants and aides.

Education

Those who are interested in entering this field need to complete a high school diploma and graduate from a state-approved program in practical nursing. These can be found in private training centers, hospitals, vocational programs as well as community colleges. Usually training for practical nursing takes about one year along with some clinical practice. Some of the topics that are covered in classroom training include anatomy, pharmacology and first aid studies.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for LPNs and LVNs are expected to be very good. The growth rate for this occupation is higher than most fields. The health care profession as a whole is growing as more people are requiring the services of medical professionals. This can be mainly attributed to the aging population. Prospects in this field are impacted by these demographics along with the fact that many in this type of work are expected to retire or leave the profession in the near future.

Advancement Opportunities

There are some advancement capabilities for those who are interested in this career and have ambition to move up the ladder. Many with leadership qualities can advance to become known as a charge nurse, who has supervisory responsibilities over other nurses in their work environment. Others become specialized in a certain field such as gerontology, which works specifically with older people. Some end up continuing their education while working to become registered nurses.