For newly certified LVNs in California or potential students who have recently enrolled in nursing school in Los Angeles, the history of a day recognizing the impact of the profession probably isn’t on your radar yet.
National Nurses Week started with very humble origins. It began in 1954 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s historic trip to Crimea during a brutal and deadly war. That may sound like something nurses do every day now, but when she brought herself to the bedsides of ailing and dying soldiers, nursing wasn’t a credible profession. Since that initial celebration of her remarkable work, National Nurses Week ends with nationally-recognized National Nurses Day, or May 12, Nightingale’s birthday.
2020 and 2021 were hardly standard, “by the book” years for nurses in California and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed nurses to the forefront of the fight, and to the front pages of local newspapers. The American Nursing Association (ANA), the organization behind National Nurses Week has officially designated both 2020 and 2021 as the year of the nurse. 2021 has continued to be a year defined by nursing and heroic nurses, including student nurses who are critical to the COVID vaccination efforts.
May 2021: Celebrate LVNs and Nurses ALL MONTH!
This year nurses remain so central to discussions around healthcare and the delivery of actual medicine (and thank you student nurses!), the ANA named May officially as National Nurses Month. BSNs and LVNs in California deserve recognition for the work they do every day, but the decision to extend more resources and visibility to the efforts nurses are performing right now is crucial.
You can read more about the Year of the Nurse, the joint enterprise between the ANA and the World Health Organization (WHO) here.
Nurses are Telling Their Own Stories
As an LVN school in Los Angeles, we’ve seen the impact of the COVID pandemic firsthand. Namely, more and more young people are more interested than ever in becoming an LVN. We also believe that the impact of representation in nurses in the media has evolved largely due to the coverage of the pandemic. It’s clear now what we’ve said for years and continue to say over and over again: Nurses are heroes.
Nurses have been given a much larger platform to tell their own stories, and admittedly they have been harrowing to read. For career LVNs and BSNs, however, those harrowing stories are hardly new. Being a nurse is tough, challenging work. We’re celebrating the platform the industry has given to nurses and the furthering the message that nurses aren’t just brave; they’re critical to the entire healthcare. Even if you’re busy as an LVN student in Los Angeles or working in the actual frontlines, we still hope you take some time to check out these inspiring photos of frontline nurses.
Enrollment in Nursing Schools is Up…A Lot
One thing is for sure. Enrollment in nursing school programs including LVN programs in Los Angeles is soaring. In 2020, according to a report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), overall enrollment in BSN programs was up 5.6% in 2020 for the 2021 year. While vocational programs like CDI are not tracked by the AACN, the president of the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, two-year or associate programs seem to be “enjoying a similar bump.”
It’s not just the industry saying that: it’s Google. The number-one “how to become” search for 2020 was “nurse” according to Google Trends. What we saw here on our campus (even as we conducted virtual classes) is that the pandemic was drawing people to the profession in higher numbers than ever before.
What is the Future of LVNs and Vocational Nursing in California and Around the Country?
Prior to the pandemic, the nation was facing a serious nursing shortage. Despite the spike of enrollees at LVN programs in California, that isn’t going to change any time soon. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes annual figures and statistics on most professions throughout the U.S. According to recent BLS figures, “Employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom population ages, the overall need for healthcare services is expected to increase. LPNs and LVNs will be needed in residential care facilities and in home health environments to care for older patients.”
In terms of salary, the median (or “middle”) salary for LVNs hovers around $50,000/year or more specifically $23.47 per hour, making it one of the most competitive jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
How Can You Honor Nurses During 2021’s National Nursing Month?
As National Nurses Month kicks off, we’re already seeing organizations and municipalities honoring local nurses. There are many, many ways to thank nurses and LVNs in California, but this year it’s particularly important to honor and respect the work they do in simple but powerful ways:
Remind people that LVNs ARE nurses. They’re not “nursing lite” or “sort-of” nurses. LVNs are licensed, registered nurses who perform critical and important tasks in nearly as many professional environments as their BSN counterparts.
Get vaccinated. Even for individuals who aren’t at greater risk of death or serious complications from COVID, vaccines protect the vulnerable. Keeping people out of the ICU further decreases the demand on nurses and respects the life and safety of non-COVID patients and the elderly.
Increase the visibility of LVNs…in your own way. This photographer was inspired to take portraits of nurses and make them available for display in his local hospital. Chipotle announced it was giving away lunch for hundreds of nurses throughout the country. (Check out our Insta feed for our posts about it!) What kind of special skills and talents do you have? Do you own a business that could provide discounted or free services to nurses and their families? Can you sponsor a local nursing scholarship at a vocational school? Can you help pay for the living or schooling expenses of a nurse who just enrolled in LVN school in Los Angeles?
There’s no right or wrong way to honor a nurse. As long as it’s sincere and shows the respect and dignity that heroic frontline nurses deserve, your heartfelt “thank you” will undoubtedly be appreciated and accepted.
If you really want to honor the profession this National Nurses Month (which we hope continues well after the pandemic by the way), why not consider joining? We have new classes starting all the time, and you could become a licensed nurse in just 13 months. Click here for more information about our latest class and to contact us.