02 July 2010
Want to Learn More about Vocational Nursing?

Are you studying vocational nursing but still not sure of all the career options? Are you considering enrolling into a nursing program but first want to know what jobs would be available? Read on to see what the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlook Handbook has to say about Vocational Nurses and all of the practical career opportunities.

Job Prospect: Vocational Nursing

Nature of Work: Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) care for those who are sick, injured, disabled or convalescent, under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians. Basic duties include record vital signs, bedside care, prepare and administer injections, monitor catheters, dress wounds, perform routine lab tests, gather information and help keep patients comfortable. LVNs can work in many areas of health care, including specialized settings such as a doctor’s office, nursing home or home healthcare.

Training: LVNs must complete a State-approved training course in practical nursing. Most programs are about a year in length and consist of a combination of classroom study and clinical practice. After completion, students must pass the LVN certification examination - National Council Licensure Examination for Practical/Vocational Nurses (NCLEX-PN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

Other qualifications: LVNs should also exhibit a sympathetic, caring nature and be emotionally stable and observant. They should also have good communication and decision-making skills.

 Advancement: In healthcare settings such as nursing homes, LVNs can advance to charge nurses who supervise other LVNs and aides. LVNs can also become specialized in specific medical areas such as long-term care or gerontology. Many LVNs choose to become Registered Nurses (RNs) through further training.

Employment: In 2008, LVNs held about 760,000 jobs in the U.S., with 28% working in nursing care facilities, 25% in hospitals and another 12% in physician offices. Other employment opportunities include home healthcare services, residential care facilities, outpatient care centers, community care facilities for the elderly, employment services and Federal, State, and local government agencies.

Job Outlook: Between 2008 and 2018, LVN employment is expected to grow 21%, much faster than average. This demand increase is contributed to by an increase in the older population, due to the fact that they have a higher incidence of injury and illness. Also, nowadays people are living longer, causing the demand for long-term healthcare to increase. Additionally, many medical procedures once solely performed in hospitals are now being offered at a physician’s office and out-patient care centers - areas where LVNs work.

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