The healthcare industry is growing.
The need for elderly care is on the rise, as well as the need for long-term care staff. The industry is growing so fast it seems the assistants to doctors and Nurse Practitioners are needing assistants. A licensed vocational nurse is the perfect assistant because they can work in a variety of medical facilities.
Where Can Vocational Nurses Work?
Vocational nurses are seeking employment in more than one industry. The healthcare industry offers employment at hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care units, and health clinics.
Vocational nurses can also find work in intermediate care facilities where they can help care for persons with disabilities. Their disability may be developmental or due to an injury of some kind. Home health agencies offer a work environment for vocational nurses who prefer to care for someone in their own home.
Other places of employment can include private practices of physicians, addiction treatment centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care centers. You may even find work in school districts, military bases, universities and for professional sports teams, all of which benefit from nursing assistance.
What Do Vocational Nurses Do?
The job duties involved in vocational nursing include checking the vital signs of patients. Vital signs can include blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiration.
A vocational nurse monitors the patient closely. They do so to report any abnormalities or complications they see to the doctor. A complication, for example, could be an allergic reaction or medication interaction.
Vocational nurses may also be responsible for injections, enemas, and catheters. In addition, they may need to change bedding, clean bedsores, help patients use the bathroom and bathe, start IVs, and administer medication upon doctor requests.
Vocational nurses who work in labor and delivery can assist in feeding infants and tending to their needs. Some can even assist during delivery. They also work on keeping documentation of patient progress, including how much they eat and drink. These duties can change day to day, depending on the needs of the patient and doctor’s orders.
What Level of Education is Required to Be a Vocational Nurse?
Your local college offers a fast-track training program to get you working in the healthcare industry quickly. They typically provide 60 weeks of course instruction to prepare you for entry level vocational nursing jobs.
Course focus is on learning the basics of the practice of nursing, this includes lab work where you can gain hands-on experience. Your courses will also focus on specific areas of nursing such as working with the elderly, working with orthopedics, working in a clinic and even respiratory nursing.
Further courses focus on all the major internal functions of the body, from cardiology to the endocrine system, the nerves and the brain. There are even administrative courses to teach you how to be a leader or manager, and how to work with or supervise other staff.
Are Vocational Nurses Licensed?
Yes, most vocational nurses are licensed. Completing a fast-track program at your local college prepares you to take the licensure exam for vocational nursing. You will need to take the licensure exam in the state in which you plan to work. The test is called the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. It is given by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Having a license can benefit you, especially during the hiring process. If an employer is struggling to make a choice between you and another vocational nurse without a license, the fact that you are licensed may give you an edge over your competitor.
How is Vocational Nursing Different Than Other Types of Nursing?
If you are not familiar with the nursing career, it may seem confusing when trying to distinguish between a licensed vocational nurse, licensed practical nurse, certified nursing assistant, and registered nurse.
A licensed vocational nurse and a licensed practical nurse are the same. If you live in Texas and California, the title of vocational nursing is used. Other states use the title of licensed practical nursing. They are supervised by doctors and registered nurses and complete tasks as requested.
Certified nursing assistants require minimal training, usually four to six weeks in which they learn the very basics of caring for patients. Duties they can perform include taking vital signs, feeding patients, cleaning rooms, and helping patients get dressed or use the bathroom.
Certified nursing assistants must pass the certification exam offered by the state in which they work. Many certified nursing assistants later enroll in a local college to gain the education needed to become a vocational nurse.
Registered nurses supervise vocational nurses and nursing assistants. They have obtained a minimum of an associate degree from a local college. However, many agencies to are looking to hire registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree.
The reason for needing more education is because registered nurses perform more critical job duties. Some examples include performing diagnostic testing, analyzing results, educate patients and their family members on prevention and recovery. Registered nurses also develop and carry out nursing care plans.
They are also responsible for keeping the environment of the facility safe and harmonious, as well as performing lab work, assisting surgeons, and recommending treatments. And this is just a few of their responsibilities. Therefore, you can see why more education would be needed.
What is the Salary of a Vocational Nurse?
The salary of a vocational nurse can vary depending on the state in which you work, the facility in which you work, and the demand for vocational nursing in your area. The good news is that demand is rising, making nurses more valuable. The average hourly rate of a vocational nurse in the United States is close to $22 an hour. This is an exceptional rate of pay considering less than two years of education is required.
Vocational nursing is many things: a great career; a stepping stone to higher level nursing careers; and the quickest way to begin working in the medical field. It is also a way to fulfill your need to help others.