CNA to LVN Programs Online
Working as a CNA/certified nursing assistant may have been your original career goal, but as you spend more time as a CNA, you may find yourself wanting to go further. You may begin to realize that you would like to stay in healthcare, but want something more as a career. Perhaps watching the licensed vocational nurses, or LVNs, who supervise you has made you interested in obtaining more training in order to become one too. In the “ladder” of different types of nurses, LVNs are one rung above CNAs. In some states they are known as licensed practical nurses, or LPNs. LVNs and LPNs usually have a higher salary, more responsibilities, and a wider scope of practice than CNAs. With some additional schooling, you can go from CNA to LVN.
Is becoming an LVN right for you?
Before launching into training as an LVN, it is important to understand what the job will entail to ensure that it will be a good fit. Licensed vocational nurses perform basic nursing tasks and always work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. LVNs will check patient vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate, provide basic nursing care such as changing bandages or inserting catheters, help patients with daily self-care tasks, and report patient information to RNs and physicians.
LVNs work directly with vulnerable patients and their families and must be good at communicating directly and with empathy. Many of the patients under the care of LVNs are elderly or disabled, so it is important for LVNs to be patient, caring, and calm. A good LVN will be able to perform his or her professional duties with safety and accuracy as well as with kindness and compassion.
LVN training classes can be found at vocational or technical schools, community colleges, or nursing training schools. Completing the training to become a LVN usually takes about one year, but programs can take longer to complete if they are done part-time. For those who are already CNAs, there are education programs available known as CNA to LVN bridge programs. These programs will provide the necessary training for CNAs to become LPNs without having to relearn skills they already mastered during CNA training.
Online CNA to LVN Training
For those who already hold a CNA job full-time, one of the best ways to engage in training to become a LVN is to enroll in an online CNA to LVN program. The classroom learning portion for many LVN training programs can be completed online. An online search will likely help you find schools in your area that offer online training, but you can also contact your local colleges to find out what their online options may be. Online learning is a convenient way to obtain the necessary hours of training while still being able to fulfill work and family obligations.
Classroom Hours and Clinical Hours
In order to become an LVN, students need to meet both classroom and clinical hour requirements, as set by their specific state. The “classroom” component of LVN training can be completed online. This saves you from having to go through the hassle of traveling to an actual classroom every day and enables you to learn from the comfort of your own home at whatever time is best for you. An LVN program will cover topics such as anatomy, pharmacology, medical administration, medical ethics, and preventative and therapeutic care.
Once you have completed your classroom training, you will need to complete clinical hours. Clinical rotations take place in a variety of medical facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care facilities, or doctors’ offices. During clinical rotations, students will be able to put into practice the skills and knowledge they have acquired through their online training. Often, a student will be assigned one or two residents or patients and will demonstrate their knowledge of patient care to a supervising LVN or RN.
Certification as an LVN
Once a student has successfully completed a state-accredited LVN training program, he or she can then pursue official certification as an LVN. In order to work as a licensed vocational nurse, a student must first pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN). The NCLEX-PN consists of at least 85 questions to answer in a maximum of 5 hours. The state board of nursing will determine an individual’s eligibility to take the exam.
Working as an LVN
LVNs can pursue work in many different locations. The most common is in a nursing home or long-term care facility, but LVNs also work in hospitals, private clinics, and even schools or daycare centers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs/LVNs make a mean annual wage of $43,420. The top earning LVNs make between $52,000 and $55,000 per year. Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the states with the highest annual mean wages for LVNs. Transitioning from working as a CNA to practicing as an LVN is a career move that will likely result in higher earning potential, more professional responsibility, and a sense of personal accomplishment.