An LVN, or Licensed Vocational Nurse, provides nursing care and may oversee other LVNs and unlicensed medical personnel on staff. An LVN’s duties include:
- monitoring a patients’ health
- administering basic nursing care
- helping patients bathe and dress
- discussing health care with patients and reporting patients’ status to RNs and doctors
An RN, or Registered Nurse, not only coordinates patient care, providing education and emotional support to patients and families, they also:
- administer medications and treatments
- consult with doctors and specialists
- operate and monitor medical equipment
- record medical histories and ongoing observation of patient symptoms
- perform diagnostic tests, analyzing results and reporting findings to the doctor
LVNs are licensed via a one-year educational program, covering nursing, biology and pharmacology, with clinical training as well. They must pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-PN in any state.
RNs take one of three education tracks: a BSN, Bachelor of Science in nursing, an ASN, Applied Science in Registered Nursing, or a diploma degree from an accredited nursing program. No matter the path they choose, their education includes nursing, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, and liberal arts. RNs also train in hospital departments such as pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery and maternity, for the portion of their clinical education requirements. If an RN candidate is working toward a BSN, they will have more training in physical and social sciences, communication, leadership and critical thinking.
ASN and BSN graduates must apply for their license, passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, and register with the state board of nursing for the state in which they would like to work.
LVNs can continue their education to become an RN, where they can apply their LVN education toward an ASN or BSN at a four-year college program. Both occupations serve the community in their own right, working in the same facilities. There is always a need for nursing care, thus LVNs and RNs have careers that will never become obsolete.