Vocational Nurses are an important part of the medical field. These nurses are trained to complete practical procedures, caring for and monitoring patients’ health. Vocational Nurses are used in nursing homes, hospitals, schools and home care agencies. In order to become a Vocational Nurse, an individual must have a desire to help others, patience and the desire to meet and exceed goals. Good nurses make a big impact on the lives of those they care for, often leaving lifelong positive impressions and memories. This career choice is one of the most rewarding, but it may also be very difficult. Those who have the desire to help others will overcome any obstacles easily.
Vocational Nurse Job Responsibilities
Vocational Nurses are responsible for a variety of aspects related to patient care. In hospitals, Vocational Nurses are responsible for monitoring conditions of patients, monitoring their vital signs and recording any data regarding change or improvement. They also administer medications and apply topical treatments. Vocational Nurses are responsible for turning on feeding tube machines, giving injections, treating open wounds and many other tasks that require training to perform. Vocational Nurses in nursing facilities and hospitals must report to their supervising RN, accurately reciting any changes or concerns. Documentation and charting are another responsibility that must be taken seriously. Mistakes are often detrimental, so these professionals must have a great attention to detail.
In home care, Vocational Nurses visit patients in their homes. These patients are given medications and treatments requiring a nurse’s assistance. In some cases, as with Hospice agencies, home care Vocational Nurses work with terminally ill patients at home. Agencies may allow nurses to travel all over the state or country, providing an exciting and unique employment opportunity. In schools and educational institutions, Vocational Nurses are responsible for seeing students when they are ill or acquired a minor injury. Treating these injuries and administering vaccinations are the main duties of these nurses. Those who are employed by doctors’ offices must complete paperwork, perform secretarial duties or give injections and perform procedures they are licensed to do, minimizing the time the doctor must spend with each patient.
Vocational Nurse Training And Education Requirements
To become a Licensed Vocational Nurse, also called an LVN, students must complete a one-year program full-time. Attending part-time is also an option, but this route will take about one additional year or more, depending on the class load chosen. Full-time is considered to be 12 credit hours. Hands-on labs must be completed as part of the training program. Classes in Anatomy And Physiology require both animal dissection labs and lecture classes. Several classes such as Medical Terminology, Psychology, English Composition, Algebra, Dosage Calculations and other health science classes are required. Clinical rotations are performed in a hospital or nursing home under the direction of a Registered Nurse. During these rotations, students practice procedures such as injections, taking vital signs, giving medications, changing catheters and many other procedures learned in class. Each state has a Board of Nursing, which will provide prospective students with a list of approved and accredited nursing study programs.
Vocational Nurse Salary And Wages
Recent graduates from a Vocational Nursing program will earn less than those who have experience. Most facilities pay nurses based on experience. Some Vocational Nurses are paid an hourly wage, while others are paid on a monthly salary basis. Those who are paid salary are also generally required to be “on call” at least once a month, meaning they must come in to work for emergency situations if they are called – the extra hours will not earn extra pay on a salary scale. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vocational Nurses averaged $39,000 per year in 2008. Those who were employed by employment services earned over $44,000, nursing facility employees earned about $40,000 and home health nurses earned about $39,000 per year. Hospital Vocational Nurses earned about $38,000 and nurses employed by doctors earned about $35,000 per year.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Vocational Nurse Certifications
To become certified, Vocational Nurses must take their state’s board exams. The NCLEX-PN test must be taken and passed with a satisfactory score. After this is completed, the nurse will gain a state-administered license, which must be renewed occasionally. Also a minimum is set upon hours of employment to maintain the license. Inservices or continuing education are also required. Earning a C license is something Vocational Nurses may do by taking additional classes. This allows the nurse to perform more intravenous patient care duties that normally only an RN could legally do.
Vocational Nurse Professional Associations
The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, called the NFLPN, is a nationwide association for Practical and Vocational Nurses. In order to become a member of this association, an application must be submitted online at their website, found at www.nflpn.org. Once approved, the Vocational Nurse must pay an annual membership fee. Being a part of a professional association will impress prospective employers and connect a nurse to a network of valuable resources. Individual state associations may be found for each of the 50 states; also there are countless private associations for Vocational Nurses.