Choosing a nursing license to pursue can prove challenging. It may seem like an alphabet soup of abbreviations get thrown at you. Specifically, people mix up a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
What’s the Difference?
When it comes to the nursing field, there is no difference. LVN’s and LPN’s perform the same role. The only difference is that they refer to the position as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in California and Texas. In contrast, the rest of the country refers to them as a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Some states allow LPN’s to provide medications to patients and some don’t. However, all LPN’s work under RNs or physicians. They also must pass the NCLEX-PN before working.
If an LVN wanted to work in Texas or California, they would apply for Licensure By Endorsement in the same form that an LPN would.
What’s the Average Salary for an LVN or LPN?
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median LVN salary in 2019 was $47,480 per year or 22.83 per hour.
Moreover, by 2029 employment in this field is expected to grow by 9%.
What Are the Job Duties of an LPN and LVN?
As mentioned, the titles refer to the same role. Therefore, there are no significant differences in job duties. The job duties performed by each position are as followed:
- Provide oral, rectal, ophthalmic and topical medications
- Monitor tube and IV sites
- Perform and document physical assessments
- Measure and record vital signs
- Help patients with feeding, dressing, hygiene and transfers
- Treat basic wounds or change dressings
- Collect specimens such as capillary blood, stool, and urine
- Insert urinary catheters
- Care for patients with ventilators and tracheostomy tubes
- Insert, care for, and feed patients with nasogastric tubes
- Care for and provide patients through gastrostomy tubes
- Perform CPR
- Communicate reports during shift changes
How Can an LVN or LPN Make More Money
The average LPN makes more than a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Medical Assistant, but less than a Registered Nurse.
If you don’t feel like you’re making enough money where you’re at as an LVN or LPN, you can change that.
Move to Another Location
Each state has its average salary for LPN’s. On the high end, Alaska LPN’s make about $63,850, and on the low end, West Virginia LPN’s make about $37,500.
Since your LPN license qualifies you for any state, receiving a pay raise could mean simply moving locations. The only caveat to moving is that states with higher salaries often have a steeper cost of living.
Obtain Certification in a Specialty
LVN’s can receive certification in a host of specialties through The National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Service (NAPNES). Some of the standard courses include:
- Wound Care
- IV Therapy Certification
Become a Travel Nurse
LPN’s and LVN’s are eligible for travel nursing. This position requires a lot of flexibility from the nurse. It generally pays more than staff nursing jobs since there is a greater demand for it.
Travel nurses also receive perks for travel nursing such as license reimbursement and stipends for housing, travel, and scrubs.
Advance Your Education
Your LVN education doesn’t have to end once you earn your license. Many people started as LVN’s and went on to receive their RN license or even an MSN degree. You can continue practicing while you’re in school, and sometimes health care employers will provide tuition reimbursement to help offset the costs.
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