If you’re interested in a career in nursing, one of the quickest ways to enter the medical field is as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), also known as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) outside of California and Texas. They’re in constant demand and the requirements are relatively simple.
Many people interested in nursing will pursue their LVN license and work in that capacity while they continue to work toward becoming a registered nurse.
What is an LVN?
An LVN is a nurse who performs basic bedside care for patients who may be sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled. LVNs work under the direction of physicians and registered nurses at hospitals, but can also work in a physician’s office, clinics, nursing homes, and even schools.
They often have the most interaction with patients and spend much of their time working at the bedside.
LVNs are responsible for taking vital signs, including pulse, blood pressure, weight, and temperature. Other tasks might include dressing and bathing a patient, or taking care of other personal hygiene needs.
LVNs can also administer medication, give injections, apply dressings, monitor catheters, and other care to keep a patient comfortable.
How Do You Become an LVN?
The first requirement to become an LVN is to have your high school diploma or GED. This will be required by most accredited LVN programs.
Next, you must complete an LVN program. This requires coursework and supervised clinical practice, which takes approximately 12-14 months if going full-time, or 18-20 months part-time.
The curriculum covers the following subjects, and more:
- Nursing basics
- Human anatomy
- Prenatal care
After passing your coursework and completing the LVN program, you must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) test.
At that point, you are ready to apply for open LVN positions, which are in very high demand.
A Day in the Life of an LVN
What does an LVN do on a day-to-day basis? A day in the life of an LVN starts by reviewing patient notes made by the previous shift, as well as any lab results that may have come in. You then check on patients to see how they are doing and if they need anything.
Next, you might make rounds to every patient who needs a finger stick to check their blood sugar. You’ll need a blood glucose meter (with batteries), a lancing device and lancets (for getting a drop of blood), and test strips.
LVNs will then often move on to new admissions. This includes taking a patient’s vital signs, such as weight, height, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. You must take notes so that you can enter this information into the computer system.
Preparing and administering medications for patients is one of an LVN’s most common tasks. Some medications need to be crushed before placing them into a cup. Others may be administered with a syringe, while some are topical gels or creams.
Another common task is urine collection so that it can be sent to the lab. Sometimes you will need to use a catheter kit for patients, which you must set up.
Once you’ve finished all of your rounds, your notes must be entered into the computer system. Notes include new admissions, Medicare notes, patients who are on antibiotics (reason for medication and patient’s reaction), which patients need monitoring or any other information that the nurse on the next shift will need to know.
This is a small look into the daily routine of an LVN. There is always something to do to provide the best possible care to your patients.
Where are the LVN jobs near me?
Job opportunities for LVNs are in high demand and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This is especially true in Southern California.
You can apply for LVN jobs today at Eisenhower Health and get started on your career in nursing. We not only provide a healthy work-life balance, but working in the Coachella Valley gives you access to world-class dining, shopping, wellness amenities, and outdoor activities
Originally posted on 11/1/2023