Nurses, and especially LVNS, have been in the news quite a bit throughout 2020 and 2021. In 2022, we expect to see quite a few more headlines about the profession.
Why? COVID has shown the world that nurses are critical to delivering healthcare to patients. Also, LVNS are amongst the top paid professions in the Golden State. As an LVN school in Los Angeles that’s been training nurses for nearly 25 years, we hear the most common questions about becoming an LVN regularly.
There are a lot of misconceptions about LVNs, so we thought we’d throw out some of the most important facts about becoming a vocational nurse.
ONE: LVNs Work in a Variety of Healthcare Settings
LVNs are critical to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While those types of locations tend to hire LVNs more heavily than RNs, yes, LVNs can (and do) work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and surgical centers. Most healthcare offices and providers hire LVNs for the same reasons residential facilities do: LVNs are excellent at providing hands-on care for patients. With nursing shortages becoming even more pronounced post-COVID, staffing demands will increase across the board for LVNs as well as RNs.
TWO: Becoming an LVN isn’t “Just” a Stepping Stone to Becoming an RN
First of all, yes many students become an LVN first because it’s often less expensive, and nearly always faster, than enrolling in a BSN program. If you choose to become RN (which requires a degree from a four-year school), it’s also often cheaper to enroll in a LVN-to-RN bridge program later.
Many LVNs are perfectly happy with that role, and enjoy many career opportunities. LVNs often become team leaders, or enroll in specialty certification programs (which can increase your responsibilities and your salary). As an LVN, you get quite a bit of patient contact, something that shift RNs often don’t have as much opportunity to do once their administrative responsibilities increase. Yes, RNs have management opportunities that LVns do not. However, that isn’t to say your LVN career won’t present you with exciting and diverse roles with long-term potential.
THREE: LVNs Aren’t “Lesser” Nurses
There is a misconception, and one we find unfair and misleading, that LVNs are somehow not respected at the workplace. Finishing an accelerated LVN program is very challenging. It takes passion, a strong work ethic, and a lot of studying. But, we stress this all the time to our incoming students: LVNs are REAL nurses.
You are not a “lesser” nurse (even if there are many types of treatments that you can only provide to patients as an RN). As an LVN, you have many of the same responsibilities as an RN including:
- Taking vitals
- Administering medication
- Providing bedside care
- Wound care
- And more.
Healthcare is a very collaborative industry, and LVNs are in no way inferior to anyone else on the team.
FOUR: LVNs Earn Competitive Wages
The median annual wage for LVNs in California ranges from $51,022 to $62,497 according to Salary.com at the time of this post. How does that compare to median household incomes in the U.S.? According to U.S. census data, the median salary right now in the U.S. is $67,521. Earning a certification from an accelerated LVN program ensures that you’re earning a good wage faster and sooner than your contemporaries enrolled in 4-year programs.
Five: There Are Plenty of Advantages of Becoming an LVN
We often say that nursing is a calling. It requires compassion, organization, and a lot of emotional intelligence. But what are some of the exciting benefits to you (outside of earning a competitive salary):
- Join the workforce faster
- Get involved with a career path that offers room for growth
- High job demand for the next generation (at least!)
- Get placed in a new job right out of school
- The intimacy and camaraderie of a college-like experience without the expense of a 4-year degree
Still interested? We’d love to learn more about you and talk to you about why we’re so proud of what we do here at CDI. Contact us to find out when our next class starts and get more information about enrolling today!