Does the idea of working in a field where you can help others appeal to you? If so, you may find working as a nurse to be the perfect fit. You don’t have to attend college for many years to work as a licensed nurse especially if you choose to become an LVN or LPN. Not sure which one you want? Continue reading to learn the difference between an LVN and an LPN.
What is an LVN and what is an LPN?
The letters LVN are used as a title for a licensed vocational nurse while the letters LPN are used as a title for a licensed practical nurse. Both LVNs and LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and physicians. During the courses of their day, LVNs and LPNs perform similar duties, which include the following.
•Documenting patients’ records
•Taking and monitoring patients’ vital signs
•Providing basic care to patients, such as helping dress, bathe or walk
•Discussing care and treatment to patients
•Administering basic care to patients
•Reporting medical information and communicating with RNs and physicians
•Talking to patients’ family members
•Start IVs or administer medication to patients (if state permits)
To become an LVN or LPN, individuals must complete a formal training program. These programs can be completed in as little as one year. The program may result in diplomas or certificates, although some students choose to complete two-year associate degree programs. Aspiring LPNs and LVNs complete nursing courses, lab classes and clinical internships.
Upon completion of the training, the student must pass a certification exam for licensure. The exam is typically administered through the National Council for State Board of Nursing. The exam is referred to as the NCLEX-PN.
Differences Between LVN and LPN
Although both titles are used, LVNs and LPNs are basically two names for the same job. Both are licensed nurses who work in clinics, hospitals and medical settings under the supervision of doctors and RNs. Both are required to pass a licensing exam. The main difference in the title is the state in which the nurse works. California and Texas use the title LVN whereas LPN is used in all the other states.
The scope of what the LVN and LPN can do may be slightly different, but the difference doesn’t come from the title but more from the state laws. Some states, for instance, allow a licensed nurse to administer IVs and medications while other states do not. Typically, the LVN and LPN can perform the same tasks and both have the opportunity to become certified in specific areas of nursing.
Career Outlook for LVNs and LPNs
Both LPNs and LVNs have very good career opportunities in the medical field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that LPNs and LVNs can see a job growth of up to 12 percent between 2016 and 2026. Factors such as training, experience and location can play a part in the wage potential. Texas and California are the two states with the highest level of employment in this occupation.