Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Become an LVN?

Good question. The LVN/LPN cannot do as many things as a registered nurse (RN) nor do they generally hold management type positions. The job market is narrower for licensed vocational nurses than it is for RN's. So why go this route?

In May of 2010, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing wrote a thorough and informative article on the nursing shortage in California. In it they state, to no one's surprise, that the baby boomers are getting older. Right now they are between 50-65 years old and starting to retire and many are beginning to need health care themselves. So they are concerned that there will not be enough RN's to take care of them in hospitals, retirement homes, and in the home. Another problem that they point out is that the age of the present RN's is also increasing so they will be retiring themselves and leaving a big gap that is not being filled up quickly. The nursing schools continually are turning away applicants because they do not have enough instructors, enough classrooms, and too many people applying. And this in itself may be due to the poor economy the state is in, so people are changing professions throughout their own lifetime. The schools are seeing applicants in their 30's, 40's, and 50's.

Several studies link education level to patient outcomes and medical errors, that is, the higher the education level the better the outcomes. That would apply to many professions, not only nursing. So the question remains: Why become an LVN?

It is a frustrating conundrum. Nurses are needed, especially ones with higher education, but it's hard, sometimes impossible to get into these nursing programs. People have the desire but are being turned away.

So, think of the analogy of "getting one's foot in the door." The actor who works as a mailroom person, the aspiring radio personality who works at fairs handing out flyers, or the new lawyer who does "grunt work" for the established lawyers. They all started out at a lower level than they desired. The same can be done with nursing.

A person with the desire to go into nursing might consider LVN schools in California on a path to becoming an LVN. There are many, many schools that one can find on the Internet. It's important to do some research to find out about each school. Is it accredited? What is their success rate? Do students like it? There are several websites to explore to find out this type of information. Going into an LVN program is literally "getting one's foot into the door." A person goes through the program in 14 to 18 months. They then have to take an exam, called the NCLEX-PN. On passing this, they obtain their LVN certification and can now practice as an LVN nurse. Now, they can go out and get some experience in the field. It's preferable if they practice at least a year then they can apply to an LVN to RN program. There are many of these programs available and more are starting, especially at the LVN schools themselves.