Each Day Is Challenging & Rewarding!
A typical day in the life of an LVN or licensed vocational nurse is fast-paced and demanding. In the end, it is also exciting and rewarding. While many LVNs work in hospitals, they can also be found in nursing homes, schools, military installations, factories, private homes and a wide range of other places. Successful licensed vocational nurses are intelligent, driven, caring, disciplined and flexible.
If you’re currently researching how to become an LVN, it’s impotant to keep in mind that physical stamina and energy are an important aspect of a nursing career. Although the settings in which licensed vocational nurses work vary, most of them work shifts that consist of very similar tasks, duties and responsibilities. Read below to learn more about a day in the life of one of these indispensable medical professionals.
Preparing for a Shift
Most LVNs work eight-hour shifts. However, 12-hour shifts are not unusual. While some people assume that overnight shifts are quieter and less hectic, the reality is that they can be just as demanding as daytime shifts; in fact, they can be even more demanding.
Upon arriving at her/his place of work, a licensed vocational nurse’s first order of business is typically to consult with the nurse who handled the previous shift. This consultation helps to bring the licensed vocational nurse up to speed. It also allows her to prepare herself mentally for the next eight to twelve hours.
A critical part of preparing for a shift is going over various types of paperwork. Paperwork is an integral part of the daily routine of any licensed vocational nurse. Upon arriving at her shift, a nurse will read through doctors’ reports, medical charts and lab tests for the patients that will be under her care during the next handful of hours.
She will pay special attention to notes about changes in patients’ conditions. She will use this information to get an idea about which patients will require the most attention.
Making the Rounds
While paperwork serves as an excellent starting point, it doesn’t convey the human side of the work. For that, most LVNs begin their actual shifts by checking on each of their patients. If a patient is awake, the nurse will say hello and ask how he is feeling. Along the way, she will also greet various coworkers.
At some point, she will also check in with the registered nurse or attending physician to whom she is required to report. If anything has changed since the latest batch of reports has been generated, she will hear about it at that point.
Assisting with Everyday Needs
There are many different types of nurses. One thing remains constant, regardless of the nursing specialty: whether she works in a nursing home, a hospital or some other facility, an LVN can expect to assist patients with a wide range of everyday things. Depending on a patient’s needs, she may assist him with everything from bathing to changing.
At mealtimes, she may stop and assist those who are unable to feed themselves. These are the tasks that really drive home the personal and caring nature of the job. LVNs must have compassion for their patients or they will be unhappy performing these types of tasks.
Performing Medical Tasks
LVNs perform a wide range of medical tasks for their patients. The specific work that a licensed vocational nurse will do for a patient depends on his individual needs. One patient may have a wound that needs to be dressed; the next one may have a catheter that requires monitoring.
In most cases, a licensed vocational nurse will probably have to collect lab samples from several patients during her shift. She will also have to pass medications to those who require them. No two days – or two hours – are the same when it comes to performing this type of work.
The Importance of Charts
A large part of the LVN job description is CHARTING!! Charts and other types of paperwork consume huge portions of a licensed vocational nurse’s day. As doctors make their rounds, orders are updated and changed. LVNs must take care to monitor those changes carefully. This is why there is generally no downtime during a typical shift.
When patients’ needs have been accounted for, a licensed vocational nurse always has paperwork to read, analyze and complete. Breaks are few and far between. When they do happen, they are very fleeting. This is not a job for someone who likes to take it easy.
Completing a Shift
At the end of her shift, a licensed vocational nurse must get things ready for the next nurse. She has to make sure that all patient reports are as up to date as possible. She will typically meet with the next LVN on shift to bring her up to speed about each patient.
The goal is to make these transitions as smooth as possible. Patient care always has to be the number-one priority. By the time she clocks out for the day, a licensed vocational nurse will have performed a dizzying array of tasks. She will be exhausted, but she will know that she has accomplished a great deal. ALL LVN programs teach their nursing students the importance of communicating, charting, and recording vital signs.