The importance of licensed vocational nursing is apparent when one considers that a nurse is the first person you see when you are born, and often the last person you will see when you die. A Licensed Vocational Nurse certainly meets this description, but is also the important link between the doctor or RN and the patient. As medical advancements help people live longer, the need for vocational nurses will continue to grow, which will continue to put upward pressure on the average LVN salary.
An LVN may perform various medical procedures. Some of these procedures may range from easy to extremely complex. These procedures may include: Taking vitals (blood pressure, pulse, etc.), gathering patients health information, preparing and administering injections, assisting patients with personal hygiene, collecting lab samples, performing lab tests, taking care of babies, educating families about good health habits, and supervising nursing assistants and aids.
The essential roles in licensed vocational nursing can be broken down into 4 main categories: Monitoring, Lab Work, Patient Education and Specialty Roles.
Responsibilities In Licensed Vocational Nursing
Because an LVN is a special link between the doctor and the patient, it is extremely important that the nurse has great communication skills. The nurse needs to be able to monitor the patient’s vitals and watch for adverse reactions to medications. They must be able to communicate with the patient what is happening to them, how drugs will affect them and all the doctors’ findings. If there are any changes with the patient the nurse needs to be able to report back to the doctor all the changes and finding that occurred with their patient.
A vocational nurse gathers information from patients such has food eaten, fluids patient takes in and expels, and family history. Much of this information is documented for records such as insurance forms and referrals.
Laboratory and Administrative Duties
There are many job opportunities for LVN’s in hospital labs. Many nurses will collect samples and conduct the test. The nurses also assist doctors during their tests and report any results to labs. A vocational nurse may also work within the doctor’s office scheduling appointments and performing other administrative duties.
Many LVN’s working in nursing homes or home health care do a variety of duties involving education of the patient. These include preparing meals, teaching patients about healthy habits, medications, dressing wounds, and physical therapy. Many nurses also provide emotional support for the patient as well as for their family members.
In some cases LVN’s are responsible for more specialized job roles. These may include assisting in delivering and caring for newborns, home nursing care, and even the care and monitoring of medical equipment.
Licensed Vocational Nursing In The Big Picture
The Licensed Vocational Nurse may work in hospitals, physician’s offices and nursing homes. Working as a vocational nurse is not an easy job. A nurse will spend many hours on her feet as well as lifting people and dealing with difficult people. Licensed vocational nursing requires a person to wear many hats, and this is why they are such a critical member of the health care industry.
Today’s LVN programs place a huge amount of focus on working collaboratively with registered nurses, medical technicians, and other healthcare professionals.