Essential Test Prep Tips to Help You Pass the NCLEX-PN the First Time

The 2019 NCLEX-PN Review & Study Guide

Essential Test Prep Tips to Help You Pass the NCLEX-PN the First Time

Essential Test Prep Tips to Help You Pass the NCLEX-PN the First Time

In a previous blog post, we outlined how you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). This profession has several benefits, including job stability, varying specialties, and personal fulfillment. If you’re interested in helping others, then you might find your calling as an LVN.

One important milestone for aspiring nurses, however, is the LVN licensing exam. In order to become an LVN, or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

If you are considering a career in Vocational Nursing, this post will be a great resource for you as you prepare for this test.

How to Study for the NCLEX-PN

Our comprehensive NCLEX-PN study guide will cover:

  1. What is the NCLEX-PN exam?
  2. The Difference Between the NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN
  3. What is on the NCLEX PN?
  4. How to pass the NCLEX-PN exam
  5. The NCLEX-PN exam requirements
  6. NCLEX-PN exam sample questions
  7. General tips and test strategies for passing the NCLEX-PN exam
  8. Information on NCLEX-PN results, and
  9. What to do before, during, and after exam day

But first, let’s begin with a brief refresher…

LVN Requirements

What Are the Requirements to Become an LVN?

In the U.S., there are two primary LVN requirements:

  1. An approved-educational program and
  2. State licensure

As for the approved-educational programs, there are numerous colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer them. The curriculum for these programs may include a combination of on-campus instruction as well as online or hybrid classes.

Graduates of these programs become eligible to sit for the licensing examination. To obtain your license, your state will require you to:

+ Prove that you have graduated from an accredited PN or VN program.

+ In some states, pass a background check and provide fingerprints.

+ Pass the NCLEX-PN exam.

You will need to renew your license every few years, and your employer will likely ask you to provide documented proof of your license.

LVN Educational Requirements

What Education Is Needed for LVNs?

In some cases, a student’s Vocational Nurse training can be completed within the span of a year. However, the timeline depends on your chosen educational path. For instance, one of the most common routes is a diploma program.

Diploma Program

If you don’t want to spend years in school, then a Vocational Nursing diploma might be your preferred choice. For instance, the VN program at Unitek can be completed in as little as 12 months. The goal is to equip you with the right skillset so that you can advance your career. Unlike a degree program, your coursework typically won’t include general education courses. Rather, the curriculum tends to focus more on nursing tasks. This is why these programs take much less time to complete.

Bonus Option: Associate Degree

If you’d like to build on your education in the future, then you might want to go the extra mile by pursuing an associate degree. In California, you can typically earn a Vocational Nursing degree within the span of year, though you must complete a VN program first. For instance, the ASVN program at Unitek College can be completed in as little as 12 months (again, you must complete a VN program first). This path can lay the groundwork for a higher-level degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.

What Is the NCLEX-PN Exam?

NCLEX-PN Meaning

What Do I Need to Know for the NCLEX-PN

The NCLEX-PN exam is issued by a governmental entity, which provides the public with an assurance of safety and competence. Nurses perform a critical service, and they are the second-largest group of licensed professionals in the U.S. Therefore, it’s vital they receive the proper credentials.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed two exams to test the competence of aspiring RNs and LPNs/LVNs.

Steps for Applying for the NCLEX-PN

A graduate (or soon to be graduate) of an approved nursing program would need to:

  1. Complete an application form—which may include a criminal background check
  2. Submit the application and licensure fee, and
  3. Apply for the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam.

Passing the NCLEX is an important step toward licensure, but it’s not the only requirement. For instance, some states require proof of English language proficiency, no felony conviction or criminal behavior, sound physical/mental health, and good moral character.

NCLEX-PN vs RN

What Is the Difference Between NCLEX-PN and RN?

A common question we hear from nursing students is if the NCLEX-PN is harder than NCLEX (for RNs)? The answer is no.

The NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN exams both fall under the general NCLEX umbrella. However, the NCLEX-RN exam is the more challenging of the two. This is because Registered Nurses are required to address more complex healthcare needs for their patients. They have greater responsibilities and are required to complete more years of school.

Is the NCLEX-PN Exam Hard to Pass?

The level of ease or difficulty for passing the NCLEX-PN depends on your nursing program and the time you set aside to study. The exam is administered using CAT, or computerized adaptive testing. You’ll have up to 5 hours to complete it, but that includes a short tutorial and two optional breaks.

You should feel encouraged to know that most people pass the exam. For example, in 2019, 86% of first-time test takers in the U.S. passed the test. You can also retake the exam if you don’t pass (we’ll delve more into that later).

What Is on the NCLEX-PN?

What Do I Need to Know for the NCLEX-PN?

This NCLEX-PN is critical to your LVN career, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. If you plan ahead and set aside time to study, you’ll likely be prepared for the exam.

Furthermore, there are lots of test plans and content provided by the NCSBN. They want to help prospective nurses succeed, so it’s best to take advantage of their website.

According to the NCLEX-PN Test Plan, the exam is broken down into four major categories:

  1. Safe and Effective Care Environment
    • Coordinated Care
    • Safety and Infection Control
  1. Health Promotion and Maintenance
  2. Psychosocial Integrity
  3. Physiological Integrity
    • Basic Care and Comfort
    • Pharmacological Therapies
    • Reduction of Risk Potential
    • Physiological Adaptation

Your NCLEX-PN study plan should include all of these categories. To give you a better idea, the NCSBN even reveals the approximate percentage of questions from each category/subcategory.

Distribution of content for the NCLEX-PN

How to Pass the NCLEX-PN the First Time

What Is the Best Way to Prepare for the NCLEX-PN?

Let’s chip away at this by answering some other frequently asked questions.

  • What does the NCLEX-PN exam consist of? Candidates might be given multiple choice questions, or questions delivered in alternate formats. These can include but are not limited to multiple-response, fill-in-the-blank calculation, ordered response, and/or hot spots (think a picture or diagram that requires analysis). Some questions may also provide aides, such as charts, tables, graphics, sound, or video.
  • How many questions are on the NCLEX-PN? The test can include anywhere from 85 to 205 questions. Since it uses a CAT format, no single exam will be identical to another.
  • How many questions can you miss on the NCLEX-PN? According to the NCLEX-PN requirements, there isn’t a clear number of questions you can miss. The NCLEX isn’t like most other exams. The computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format is used to measure the difficulty level of each question and based on your answer, will vary the difficulty level accordingly.

This means that the difficulty level will increase if you answer questions correctly (the opposite is also true). After you’ve completed the minimum 85 questions, the computer can start applying its pass/fail rules to determine if you passed, failed, or need to be asked more questions. This process will continue until it determines if you have passed or failed the exam overall.

  • What is the passing score for the NCLEX-PN? This exam is all about endurance. A candidate will pass the test after they have answered enough questions correctly to stay above the pass line with a 95% confidence interval.
  • How many people pass the NCLEX-PN on their first try? The national NCLEX-PN pass rate for first-time test takers in the U.S. is currently around 86% (July 2019). This is proof that most people who take the test will pass it.
  • How much is the NCLEX-PN exam? The cost of the NCLEX-PN exam is around $200. Of course, the cost can vary depending on your individual situation. For instance, there’s an additional international scheduling fee of $150 if that applies to you. See Fees & Payment for more information. The NCSBN only accepts paying the form of credit card, debit card, or prepaid card.
  • How long should you study for the NCLEX-PN? It really depends on you. Some people require more time to study, while others prefer to take the exam right after they graduate from their vocational nursing program. In general, you should set aside at least one month to study for the exam, with several hours committed each day.

NCLEX-PN Test Prep

Examples of NCLEX-PN Questions

NCLEX-PN Test Prep

Your NCLEX-PN prep should include a test plan as well as plenty of practice tests. Remember to check out this page on the NCSBN website for a more detailed NCLEX-PN review. These “PN Test Plans” are specifically for the NCLEX-PN, and they’ll help you study by covering the content and scope of the exam.

You can also find lots of great information at the Candidate Bulletin.

We also compiled a few NCLEX-PN sample questions below to help out:

  1. Select the member of the healthcare team that is paired with one of the main functions of this team member.

a) Occupational therapist: Gait exercises

b) Physical therapist: The provision of assistive devices to facilitate the activities of daily living

c) Speech and language therapist: The treatment of swallowing disorders

d) Case manager: Ordering medications and treatments

  1. The recommended daily caloric intake for sedentary older men, active adult women and children is:

a) 2400 calories

b) 1600 calories

c) 2800 calories

d) 2000 calories

  1. Ill health, malnutrition, and wasting as a result of chronic disease are all associated with:

a) Surgical asepsis

b) Catabolism

c) Cachexia

d) Venous stasis

  1. Select all the possible opportunistic infections that adversely affect HIV/AIDS infected patients.

a) Visual losses

b) Kaposi’s sarcoma

c) Wilms’ sarcoma

d) Tuberculosis

e) Peripheral neuropathy

f) Toxoplasma gondii

  1. What can help reduce a patient’s anxiety and postsurgical pain?

a) Preoperative teaching

b) Preoperative checklist

c) Psychological counseling

d) Preoperative medication

  1. Which disease decreases the metabolic rate?

a) Cancer

b) Hypothyroidism

c) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

d) Cardiac failure

  1. When caring for an infant during cardiac arrest, which pulse must be palpated to determine cardiac function?

a) Carotid

b) Brachial

c) Pedal

d) Radial

  1. The patient should be sitting when deep breathing and coughing because this position:

a) Is physically more comfortable for the patient

b) Helps the patient to support their incision with a pillow

c) Loosens respiratory secretions

d) Allows the patient to observe their area and relax

  1. Which procedures necessitate the use of surgical asepsis techniques? Select all that apply.

a) Intramuscular medication administration

b) Central line intravenous medication administration

c) Donning gloves in the operating room

d) Neonatal bathing

e) Foley catheter insertion

f) Emptying a urinary drainage bag

  1. What is the ultimate purpose and goal of performance improvement activities?

a) To increase efficiency

b) To contain costs

c) To improve processes

d) To improve policies

Answers: 1)C  2)D  3)C  4)B,D,F  5)A  6)B  7)B  8)B  9)B,C,E  10)C

NCLEX-PN Requirements

What to Do Before the Exam

NCLEX-PN Requirements

Many first time test-takers will ask us “when can I take the NCLEX-PN?” or “when should I take NCLEX-PN?” Many of those students put a lot of time and energy into their education. It’s only natural for them to feel eager to kick-start their careers.

First, check to see when your program ends. NCLEX-PN test dates not only depend on the completion of your degree or diploma program, but on the start of the registration process for the NCLEX-PN exam.

Here is a summary of the steps you’ll need to follow before you take the NCLEX.

  1. Learn about eligibility and then apply for NCLEX-PN registration with a nursing regulatory body (NRB).
  2. Register and pay the exam fee to Pearson VUE.
  3. Wait to schedule your exam date until you receive the following from Pearson VUE: Acknowledgement of Receipt of Registration and Authorization to Test (ATT).
  4. Schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.

What to Do on Exam Day

Thanks to the NCSBN, below are a bunch of NCLEX-PN tips for you on exam day. Remember to be prepared, and take deep breaths—you’re going to do great!

  • First and foremost, bring your ID with you. Candidates without a proper ID won’t be allowed to take the exam.
  • Familiarize yourself with the NCLEX Candidate Rules. They cover what personal items you can bring, break procedures, etc.
  • Dress comfortably. Of course, things like hats, scarves, gloves, and coats have to be left outside of the testing room.
  • Arrive early. Make sure you set aside plenty of time the morning of your exam. You’ll want to arrive 30 minutes beforehand, and you don’t want to add any extra stress.
  • Provide your biometrics. In other words, you’ll need to provide the following: your signature, photograph, and palm vein scan.
  • Don’t bring in paper or writing instruments. This is a computer-administered Instead, you’ll be able to use an on-screen calculator, and you’ll be given a note board/marker for any notes.
  • Set your pace. Again, you’ll have up to 5 hours to complete the NCLEX-PN exam. This includes a short tutorial and two optional breaks. Review each question carefully—once you submit an answer, you won’t be able to return to that question.
  • How to finish up. The exam will conclude with a short, computerized survey. After you’ve completed it, raise your hand and wait to be dismissed.

What to Do After the Exam

NCLEX-PN Results

According to NCSBN, official results are only available through your nursing regulatory body. They won’t be sent to you for about six weeks after the exam. It can be hard to wait, but it’s usually worth it!

How to Retake the NCLEX-PN Exam

If you don’t pass the exam on the first try, you can always retake it. In fact, those who didn’t pass will be provided with a performance report. This can act as a great study guide if you choose to retake the exam. Here’s what to do if you’d like to try again:

  1. Contact your NRB and notify them that you plan to retake the exam.
  2. Reregister with Pearson VUE and pay the fee.
  3. Wait to receive your new ATT.
  4. Schedule your new exam.

Note: You’ll need to wait a minimum of 45 days between each exam.

How Many Times Can You Fail the NCLEX-PN

According to NCSBN, candidates can take the NCLEX up to eight times a year (remember that 45-day rule). To be absolutely certain, contact your desired nursing regulatory body to learn more about their policy for NCLEX retakes.

Will the NCLEX-PN Change in 2019?

Nope, the test plans are not changing significantly in 2019. However, there is an improved emphasis on culture and spirituality. To learn more, check out the official detail sheet.

How to Renew Your LVN License

Requirements can vary from state to state. In California, LVNs must renew their license every two years. This process includes completing a number of continuing education courses, possessing a social security number, and certifying whether you have been convicted of a crime since you last renewed your license.

You can submit your renewal online at DCA BreEZe Online Services.

About Continuing Education

  • Active Licensure. To maintain an active license, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education. Make sure you pass the course(s) in the two-year period before your license is due to be renewed.
  • First Renewal. If this is your first license renewal, then you are not required to complete 30 hours of continuing education.

Advance Your Nursing Career as an LVN

What Is the Difference Between NCLEX-PN and RN

Our goal for this article was to provide you with practical tips on how to pass the NCLEX-PN. We hope it gives you the knowledge and confidence to take that next step toward your future.

The nursing field is full of wonderful specialties and careers. There are a number of paths you can choose, and nurses will always fill a vital role in healthcare.

Another rewarding aspect of becoming a Vocational Nurse is the ability to advance within the nursing profession. Some enjoy lifelong careers as LVNs, while others use their experience to apply to RN programs. For example, Unitek offers an advanced placement option for LVNs, called “LVN to BSN.” As an RN with a BSN degree, you could receive more job opportunities and management positions.

The possibilities are practically limitless. Good luck!

is LVN the same as RN

How to Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse

Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

If you’re considering a career as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), and you’re curious about the benefits and requirements that go along with it, this article should serve as a great resource for you. Below you’ll find a wealth of information about how to start your LVN career.

The vocational nursing profession offers numerous benefits, including job stability, varying specialties, and personal fulfillment. If you’re interested in helping others, then you might find your calling as an LVN. Without a doubt, vocational nurses are pillars of strength in the healthcare community.

Table of Contents
1. What is an LVN?9. LVN Licensing & Certification
2. What Does an LVN Do?10. LVN Licensing Renewal
3. LVN Vs. Medical Assistant11. School Cost & Admission
4. LVN Vs. LPN12. LVN Jobs
5. LVN Vs. RN13. LVN Salary
6. LVN Soft Skills14. LVN Job Outlook
7. LVN Requirements15. Why Pursue LVN Training?
8. Vocational Nursing School

 

What is an LVN?

LVN Meaning

A Licensed Vocational Nurse provides patients with quality care and works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). They perform numerous clinical tasks while assisting patients in hospitals, medical offices, long-term care facilities, convalescent homes, surgical centers, and other settings. In fact, you probably interacted with many LVNs throughout your life.

is LVN the same as RN

 

LVN Job Description

What Does an LVN Do?

Licensed Vocational Nurses, or LVNs, assist in the medical care of patients under the direction of doctors and registered nurses. They care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled. LVNs often have more contact with patients than any other member of the healthcare team.

While duties vary depending on the location and employer, the LVN job description typically includes the following:

  • Assess and monitor patients
  • Report adverse reactions to medication or treatment
  • Gather information from patients including their health history and how they are currently feeling
  • Administer prescribed medicines
  • Start intravenous fluids
  • Provide care to ventilator-dependent patients
  • Complete a plan of care for a specific patient in long-term care
  • Complete insurance forms, pre-authorizations, and referrals
  • Work with the interdisciplinary team to help determine the best course of care for a patient
  • Teach family members how to care for a relative or teach patients about good health habits
  • Supervise nursing assistants and aides

 

Differences Between LVNs and Other Nurses?

LVN vs. Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants aren’t actually nurses. They’re multi-competent professionals who are involved in administrative and clinical tasks to keep offices, clinics, and laboratories running smoothly. While they assist physicians during examinations, they do not perform as many clinical tasks as LVNs.

Licensed Vocational Nurses require more schooling and a license to practice, which means they have more responsibility within a well-defined scope of practice. Medical Assistants, while often formally trained, do not always need to complete an educational program or gain certification to find employment.

In 2018, Medical Assistants earned a median annual wage of $33,610.

LVNs, on the other hand, earned an median annual salary of $46,240.

LVN vs. LPN

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is actually another title for Licensed Vocational Nursing. Depending on your location in the United States, one of these job titles will be used. LVN is commonly used in California and Texas, but LPN is the technical title in all other states.

LVNs and LPNs are nursing professionals trained to assist other nurses and physicians. They provide a range of different services for patients. For instance, they might be responsible for providing bedside care, monitoring and recording vital signs, dressing wounds, and updating patient charts. An LVN might also administer prescribed medications or start intravenous fluids.

Both LVNs and LPNs are typically required to complete formal training in order to obtain their license.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they also earn the same median annual wage: $46,240.

LVN vs. RN

Registered Nurses and LVNs both fill vital roles in healthcare. Becoming an RN usually requires an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

Like LVNs, you’ll also need to pass a licensing exam. RNs must complete several years of schooling, whereas an LVN can complete their schooling in about a year.

RNs complete higher-level nursing tasks. In addition to working with physicians, some RNs oversee LVNs/LPNs, nursing assistants, and home health aides. They also tend to have more opportunities for specialization, such as:

    • Critical care nurses (work in intensive-care units)
    • Cardiovascular nurses (care for patients with heart disease)
    • Genetics nurses (provide counseling and treatment for genetic disorders)
    • Neonatology nurses (care for newborns)
    • Rehabilitation nurses (care for patients with disabilities)

In the U.S., the current median salary for RNs is $71,730 per year.

Comparatively, the median annual wage for LVNs is about $46,240.

 

LVN Soft Skills

What Qualities Should an LVN Possess?

To become an LVN, you should be:

  • Compassionate, as it requires empathy and care toward the people you serve.
  • Personal and friendly, as interacting with patients and other healthcare providers is a big part of the job.
  • Patient, as dealing with sick and injured people can be stressful.
  • Physically strong, as LVNs need to be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for long periods of time.
  • Well spoken, as it’s important that LVNs communicate effectively. For instance, they might need to relay information about a patient’s condition to an RN.
  • Accurate and detail-oriented, as LVNs help ensure that patients receive the correct care at the right time.

 

LVN Requirements

What Are the Requirements to Become an LVN?

In the U.S., there are two primary LVN requirements:

  1. An approved vocational nursing program – There are numerous colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer these programs. The curriculums might include a combination of on-campus instruction as well as online or hybrid classes. Additionally, some schools will offer classes in the day, afternoon, or evening hours.
  2. State licensure – Post-graduation, LVNs must pass the licensing examination.

LVN Certification

To obtain your license, your state will require you to:

+ Prove that you have graduated from a nursing-board approved VN or PN program.

+ Possibly pass a background check and provide fingerprints.

+ Pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-PN) exam.

You will need to renew your license every few years, and your employer will likely ask you to provide documented proof of your license.

The difference between a VN and an LVN is something else that you should keep in mind. When you search for “How to become a Vocational Nurse” and “How to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse,” you’re actually referring to different stages in the educational process. A Vocational Nurse has graduated from a formal program, but a Licensed Vocational Nurse is one who has also passed their licensing exam. Remember: You must be licensed to practice.


Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

 

Vocational Nursing School

How long does it take to be an LVN?

Higher education and medical training can put large demands on your time as well as your physical and mental energy. If you’re considering an LVN education, the first question on your mind is probably this: How long do you have to go to school to be an LVN?

In some cases, LVN programs can be completed within the span of a year. Having said that, the timeline is dependent on the type of education you’d like to receive. For instance, one of the most common routes is a diploma program.

LVN Diploma Program

If you don’t want to spend years in school, then a Vocational Nursing diploma might be your preferred choice. For instance, the VN program at Unitek can be completed in as little as 12 months. The goal is to equip you with the right skillset so that you can advance your career. Unlike a degree program, your coursework typically won’t include general education courses. Rather, the curriculum tends to focus more on nursing tasks. This is why these programs take much less time to complete.

If you choose a diploma program, you can expect to study subjects like nursing fundamentals (theory and clinical), pharmacology, maternal and newborn, pediatrics, and professional development. Vocational Nursing programs can vary in course work and curriculum but, if you’re thinking of enrolling into one of these programs, you should look for schools that are best equipped to prepare you for real world experience.

Bonus Option: LVN Degree

If you’d like to build on your education in the future, then you might want to go the extra mile by pursuing an associate degree. In California, you can typically earn a Vocational Nursing degree within the span of year, though you must complete a VN program first. For instance, the ASVN program at Unitek College can be completed in as little as 12 months (again, you must complete a VN program first). This path can lay the groundwork for a higher-level degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.

 

LVN Licensing & Certification

The NCLEX-PN exam is issued by a governmental entity, which provides the public with an assurance of safety and competence. Nurses perform a critical service, and they are the second largest group of licensed professionals in the U.S. It’s vital that they receive the proper credentials.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has developed two exams to test the competence of aspiring RNs and LPNs/LVNs. A graduate (or soon to be graduate) of an approved nursing program would need to complete an application form—which might include a criminal background check—submit the application and licensure fee, and apply for the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam.

Passing the NCLEX is an important step toward licensure, but it’s not the only requirement. For instance, some states require proof of English language proficiency, no felony conviction or criminal behavior, sound physical/mental health, and good moral character.

Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Vocational-Nursing

 

LVN Licensing Renewal

Requirements can vary from state to state. In California, LVNs must renew their license every two years. This process includes completing a number of continuing education courses, possessing a social security number, and certifying whether you have been convicted of a crime since you last renewed your license.

You can submit your renewal online at DCA BreEZe Online Services.

LVN Continuing Education

  • Active Licensure. To maintain an active license, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education. Make sure you pass the course(s) in the two-year period before your license is due to be renewed.
  • First Renewal. If this is your first license renewal, then you are not required to complete 30 hours of continuing education.

How to Become an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse)

 

LVN School Cost & Admission

How much does it cost to become an LVN?

Out-of-pocket LVN school costs can vary depending on your individual situation. Cost will also depend on the location, school, and type of program. A typical price range could run anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000.

Some programs might also charge a higher price for more clinical externships or cutting-edge medical equipment. Be sure to research your favored schools and ask the admissions representatives about tuition costs as well as financial aid options. You might be eligible for financial aid, which can cover many college expenses, such as:

  • Tuition
  • Transportation
  • Room and Board
  • Books
  • Computer Equipment
  • Living Expenses

LVN Admissions Requirements

Some LVN schools might have stricter enrollment requirements, but there are also those that don’t; pick the program that is right for you and that best suits your situation. To give you a better idea, here are the bulk of Unitek’s enrollment requirements for the VN program:

  • Career planning session and admissions interview
  • Submit proof of high school education or equivalent
  • Entrance assessment test
  • Admissions application
  • Enrollment agreement
  • Financing arrangements and, if applicable, all documents needed to obtain an official award letter for Federal Student Aid 

average healthcare salary

 

LVN Jobs

Where Do LVNs Work?

Licensed Vocational Nurses often work with doctors and RNs while providing basic medical care. One moment you could be changing bandages on a patient, and in the next you might be administering medication or starting an IV. Though they can find employment in various settings, LVNs typically work in one of the following facilities:

  • Hospitals
  • Hospital clinics
  • Independent clinics
  • Physician offices
  • Nursing facilities
  • Private healthcare facilities
  • Home healthcare services
  • Military nursing
  • Travel nursing

According to the BLS, the largest employers of LVNs/LPNS are as follows:

  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
  • Hospitals: state, local, and private
  • Offices of physicians
  • Home healthcare services
  • Government
  • 38%
  • 16%
  • 13%
  • 12%
  • 7%

 

LVN Work Hours

Many different places employ LVNs, such as hospitals, residential care facilities, clinics, physicians’ offices, and temporary health agencies. Most of these jobs are full time, though some, such as schools, offer part-time schedules.

If you’re thinking about becoming an LVN, it’s good to be conscious of the fact that not all nurses have a typical work schedule. Some facilities require people to be on call, work holidays, or fill extra shifts. Thankfully, the importance of the nursing profession means that there tends to be plenty of job opportunities.

 

LVN Salary

How much do vocational nurses make?

LVN pay varies depending on your experience, employer, and region. In the United States, cost of living tends to differ from state to state, not to mention from city to city. Needless to say, salary is always important to consider when you change careers.

Vocational Nursing Salary

In May 2018, the median annual wage for LVNs was $46,240.

They lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,160.

Here are the top industries where the highest-earning LVNs work:

  • Government
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Home healthcare services
  • Hospitals: state, local, and private
  • Offices of physicians
  • $48,050
  • $47,470
  • $46,510
  • $44,630
  • $42,520

 

Top States for LVN Employment

Though LPNs/LVNs can often find employment in every state, there are some with more opportunity than others. Currently, the highest paying states for LVNs are Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Alaska, Nevada, and Connecticut.

Here’s the breakdown by location and salary:

  • State
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • Alaska
  • Nevada
  • Connecticut
  • EMT Average Hourly Wage
  • $28.43
  • $28.36
  • $28.00
  • $27.47
  • $27.39
  • EMT Average Annual Salary
  • $59,130
  • $58,990
  • $58,250
  • $57,140
  • $56,970

Highest Paying Cities for LVNs

Now that we’ve covered the top states, let’s delve into the U.S. cities with the best salaries for LVNs.

  • City
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Vallejo, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Salinas, CA
  • Napa, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • EMT Average Hourly Wage
  • $31.45
  • $30.60
  • $30.04
  • $29.58
  • $29.40
  • $29.30
  • $29.24
  • $29.17
  • $28.51
  • $28.49
  • EMT Average Annual Salary
  • $65,410
  • $63,650
  • $62,480
  • $61,540
  • $61,150
  • $60,950
  • $60,810
  • $60,680
  • $59,300
  • $59,260

 

LVN Job Outlook

According to the BLS, employment of Licensed Vocational Nurses is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026, which is higher-than-average compared to other occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has linked this demand to the aging baby-boomer population. As they head toward retirement, their need for healthcare services is expected to increase at a steady rate.

To keep up with the demand, LPNs/LVNs will be needed in residential care facilities and home health environments. A number of chronic conditions have also become more prevalent in recent years. More nurses will assist patients with these conditions in skilled nursing and other extended-care facilities. Plus, some procedures that had to be done in hospitals are now being performed elsewhere, creating a demand in other settings (think outpatient-care centers).

Job Outlook for LVNs

How to Get a Job as an LVN?

Starting out in the real world or changing careers is never easy. Time and money are two major obstacles to overcome, not to mention the fear of jumping into something new. However, it’s no secret that while some industries are cutting back, healthcare professions are on the rise. One of the best ways to enter this field is to become an LVN.

Here are some practical tips to help you get ahead while looking for that perfect LPN/LVN job.

    1. The first step is to make sure your resume is polished and employer-ready. It’s going to be one of the most vital tools in your arsenal. Think about it: The resume provides hiring managers with an initial glimpse of your skills. Essentially, it’s the first impression you’re going to make. Check for typos, fix messy font, and make sure your skills are displayed concisely and efficiently.
    2. The second step is to ensure that you’re fully equipped to enter this profession, both emotionally and academically. You will need to be equipped with caring, nurturing, and sympathetic skills. You’ll also be multitasking and interacting with a wide range of personalities. We said this earlier, but remember to take deep breaths and pace yourself!
    3. The third step is to use the career-services team at your nursing school. They can usually help you with job-search strategies, resume cleanup, and interviews. For instance, the career-services team at Unitek offers mock interviews to better assist graduates. Also, don’t forget to network and make connections in your program—they might be able to help you in your job search, too.

 

Why Should You Pursue LVN Training?

how do you become a vocational nurse

Aspiring LVNs spend less time in school than RNs. Registered Nurses and doctors spend years in school before practicing in the real world. Many LVN programs can be completed in just one year, allowing them to start their dream career as quickly as possible. If you’d like to become a nurse without spending years in school, Vocational Nursing might be the ideal choice!

This profession has a sunny job outlook for the foreseeable future. As we know, nurses are essential members of the healthcare team, and their job opportunities are only expected to increase in the coming years. Employment of LVNs is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026. This growth will likely afford them a certain degree of stability and job security.

One of the most rewarding aspects of a nursing career is the amount of time that nurses enjoy working directly with patients. Some physicians might feel that, because of their workload, they are unable to spend as much time as they’d like interacting with their patients.

Another rewarding aspect of Licensed Vocational Nursing is the ability to advance within the nursing profession. Some LVNs use their experience to apply to RN programs or RN-to-BSN programs. For example, Unitek offers an advanced placement option for LVNs, called “LVN to BSN.” As an RN with a BSN degree, you could receive more job opportunities and management positions.

Overall, LVNs receive valuable exposure and experience. They work alongside doctors and RNs and make a difference in the lives of their patients. At the end of the day, healthcare careers are all about helping others.

what is venipuncture used for

A Step-by-Step Guide to Venipuncture

How to draw blood from a patient’s vein as painlessly as possible

How to draw blood from a patient’s vein as painlessly as possible

If you’re new to the medical field, you might be wondering: Just what is venipuncture used for? In medicine, venipuncture is the process of drawing blood from a vein. This is an excellent skill that most nurses or aspiring nurses should consider learning for their career. It’s essential for a number of diagnoses, tests, and procedures. Think about it: Without proper specimens, or the right diagnosis, the potential for harmful medical treatment practically skyrockets.

Of course, it’s best for students to watch licensed nurses perform this procedure. It is also important that they study the topic and do their due diligence. In the meantime, though, you can get a better idea of the process by reading this post. Last year, we gave you tips on how to “stick like a pro.” For newer readers, we’re going back to basics. Break down the venipuncture process with us!

Tips to Know Beforehand

As BSN-trained nurse Kathleen Colduvell says in her how-to article, venipuncture isn’t something that can be learned from study alone. Watching videos or reading guides like these are great, but remember to practice in a controlled environment with trained professionals. If you’re already in the healthcare field, try speaking with your supervisor to learn the steps for certification. Some healthcare systems have their own requirements for nurses performing blood draws.

Check out these other blood-draw tips from the World Health Organization (WHO): plan ahead, use an appropriate location, and ensure there’s quality control. The WHO also maintains the below standards of patient care for hospitals to meet:

+ Availability of appropriate supplies and protective equipment

+ Availability of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

+ Avoidance of contaminated phlebotomy equipment

+ Appropriate training in phlebotomy

+ Cooperation on the part of patients

+ Quality of laboratory sampling

Step One: Know Your Veins

The first step in this process is to identify the right veins to puncture. According to Colduvell, the most common choice for adult patients is the “median cubital vein in the antecubital fossa” (think crevice of the elbow). It’s also referred to as the antecubital or the AC. Colduvell explains that, for beginners, this vein is typically the first choice because it’s close to the surface and doesn’t usually roll when punctured. Additionally, it comes with low risk of damaging nearby nerves, arteries, or tendons. Some other commonly used veins are the basilic vein and the cephalic vein.

Another important part of step one? Knowing which areas to avoid puncturing. Check out Colduvell’s list below:

  • Edematous sites (swollen sites filled with serous fluid)
  • Scarred or burned areas
  • Fistulas and grafts
  • Hematomas
  • From an IV cannula (unless permitted by your institution)
  • Sites above an IV cannula in the same vessel
  • Arm with PICC line
  • Arm with a preexisting or current blood clot
  • Arm on side of a mastectomy
  • Via an open wound or area of infection
  • Arm in which blood is being transfused
  • Arm on the side of a surgical procedure

Step Two: Have Your Supplies Ready

Once you know the site of the blood draw, you’ll want to gather the necessary supplies. Some healthcare facilities have pre-made kits, but others involve individual retrieval. It’s a good idea for nurses to take an extra set of supplies into the exam room. Why? You might need to perform more than one venipuncture.

Here are Colduvell’s suggested supplies:

  • Evacuated Collection Tubes (tubes specific to labs ordered)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (ie gloves)
  • Appropriate blood-drawing needles
  • Tourniquet
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Alcohol swabs for skin disinfection
  • Laboratory specimen labels
  • Gauze
  • Blood transfer device
  • Adhesive bandage/tape
  • Laboratory forms
  • Bio-hazard leak-proof transportation bags
  • Puncture resistant sharps container

Step Three: Perform a Proper Venipuncture

what is venipuncture used for

You’ve made it to the final step! Now that the equipment has been assembled, it’s time to perform a proper venipuncture. Remember, though: These are only general guidelines. Nurses should speak with hospital personnel regarding venipuncture before ever performing this procedure on a patient.

We’re going to again refer to the expert, Kathleen Colduvell! She has outlined the following guidelines for adult and pediatric patients:

  1. Explain the procedure and reason for the blood draw to the patient.
  2. Identify the patient using two patient identifiers as mandated by JCAHO.
  3. Confirm the ordered tests and fill out the appropriate forms and labels.
  4. Check for any allergies or sensitivities with the patient regarding antiseptics, adhesives, or latex.
  5. Position the patient and hyperextend the patient’s arm.
  6. Perform good hand hygiene and wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment).
  7. Apply a tourniquet approximately three to four inches above the selected site. Closely monitor the arm to ensure that it is not applied too tight or for more than two minutes. Reasons for concern would include numbness, tingling, change of color to blue or white, and extreme pain.
  8. Ask the patient to make a fist and not pump the hand.
  9. Prep the venipuncture site by cleansing the area with an alcohol prep pad for 30 seconds and allow to air dry for 30 seconds. Do not wave, fan, or blow on the area as this contaminates the area and leads to increased risk for infection.
  10. Grab the patient’s lower arm (below site of puncture) firmly to draw the skin taut and anchor the vein from rolling. Insert the needle at a 15 to 30-degree angle into the vessel.
  11. If properly inserted, blood should flash into the catheter. If this does not happen then the needle has either not punctured the vein or the needle went through the vessel.
  12. Attach the needed tubes or syringes to remove the proper volume of blood. Only remove the tourniquet as the last amount of blood is drawn.
  13. Remove the needle from the patient’s arm and press down on the vessel with gauze.
  14. Dispose of contaminated materials and needles in the designated hospital-approved containers.
  15. Label appropriate tubes at the bedside and place into transport bags.
  16. Deliver blood specimens to the laboratory promptly. If the blood is not delivered in a timely manner it can cause hemolysis and skew the lab results.

If you don’t get it right the first time, try not to feel disheartened. Venipuncture is like any other skill—it takes lots of time and practice to get it right. And don’t be shy about asking for help. Veteran nurses can assist you in honing your craft and mastering new skills.

An Overview of Unitek College

If you liked reading this content, you might want to check out the nursing programs at Unitek College! Founded in 2002, Unitek College is an accredited, private institution that combines unique academic and technical specialties to provide excellent training programs in healthcare and nursing. With seven campuses in California, Unitek offers educational programs in the cities of Fremont, San Jose, Hayward, Concord, South San Francisco, Sacramento, and Bakersfield. All Unitek College campuses offer healthcare career training and clinical education experiences. Some locations also provide students with the following programs: Vocational Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and RN-to-BSN.

If you’d like more information, please visit Unitek’s contact page and reach out to a friendly school representative.

Learn how to help others with Unitek College!

Training Requirements for Nurses to Get Licensed

How to Become an LVN in California

The demand for competent, experienced, and passionate nurses is on the rise in the United States. As the baby-boomer population ages, the need for Vocational Nurses will likely increase. A Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is a healthcare professional who provides patients with basic nursing care. They tend to sick, injured, disabled, and convalescent individuals.

Due to the rising healthcare demand and nursing shortage, the need for LVNs has reached an all-time high in California. As seasoned nurses approach retirement age, it might be a great time to pursue nursing school in the sunny state. It can be a unique and rewarding experience. Afterward, there could be a variety of job opportunities waiting for you.

Let’s start with the basics of Vocational nursing…

How to Become an LVN in California

The Definition of a Vocational Nurse

Most LVNs provide basic bedside care. They are responsible for taking various vital signs, such as pulse, blood pressure, respiration, and temperature.

Often times, they are also required to help their patients with dressing, bathing, and personal hygiene. LVNs can prepare and give injections, treat bedsores, apply dressings, apply hot water bottles and ice packs, monitor catheters, and give alcohol massages.

Most importantly, LVNs are trained to observe patients and monitor their reactions to treatments or medications before reporting them. They may also collect samples for testing and even perform some routine lab tests.

At the end of the day, nurses are patient advocates.

A Growing Shortage of Trained Nurses

Healthcare is a fast-growing profession and the costs of healthcare are constantly rising. In addition, many nurses are nearing retirement as the baby-boomer population continues to age and need more medical services. These are all contributing factors for the growing nursing shortage in California and the United States.

As doctors spend less time with their patients, it has often become the role of the nurse to act as a health educator who provides more direct care. If you’re interested in seizing this opportunity and becoming a nurse, you could start your journey by attending a Vocational Nursing school.

The LVN profession has become popular in recent years, drawing in larger numbers of people who decide to pursue the LVN career path for the morally rewarding nature of the profession or the material benefits it attracts. Vocational Nurses are typically employed in hospitals, but they can also work in a variety of other facilities, such as physician’s offices, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, schools, home healthcare agencies, and correctional facilities.

Becoming a licensed vocational nurse is not at all uncommon for people who wish to support themselves while pursuing RN licensure, especially since some RN programs offer qualifying LVNs an advanced placement option.

The Definition of a Vocational Nurse

LVN Jobs in California

After becoming an LVN in California, you can apply for great job opportunities in acute medical/surgical hospitals, convalescent hospitals, outpatient clinics, homecare agencies, doctor’s offices, ambulatory surgery centers, blood banks, psychiatric hospitals, dialysis centers, and correctional facilities.

It’s preferable to complete a competitive LVN training program to obtain the best results when looking for employment opportunities in the state of California. Below are just six of many outstanding hospitals in the Bay Area, and they are often looking for hard-working, well-trained nurses:

  • UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • El Camino Hospital
  • Saint Mary’s Medical Center
  • Kindred Hospital
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
  • Eden Medical Center

For more information about these hospitals, be sure to check out our recent blog post: Bay Area Nursing Jobs, The 6 Best Hospitals to Start Your Job Search.

Why California?

California nursing schools have a solid reputation for being some of the best educational institutions in the country and are renowned for the great learning opportunities afforded to their students. However, before attending an LVN training program at the school of your choice, you should ensure that it has been approved by State Legislature and the California Board of Vocational Nursing (learn more about this here).

After you find the school that’s best for you, you will need to attend all LVN theoretical courses and practical laboratories, study hard, and graduate from an approved program before you become a Vocational Nurse. With good motivation and the support of well-trained instructors, students who successfully complete their VN training can prepare for the NCLEX-PN exam.

And then? Your dream job awaits…

Training Requirements for Nurses to Get Licensed

Training Requirements for Nurses to Get Licensed

In the state of California, aspiring LVNs must complete a set number of training hours. Some of these hours are designated for theory and clinical education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are two major steps to becoming an LVN:

  1. Complete an approved educational program—Contact your state’s board of nursing for a list of approved programs.
  2. Pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN).

Graduates of approved programs either receive a certificate or a diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete and are commonly found in vocational schools or community colleges, although some might be available in hospitals.

Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology. Plus, all programs include a supervised clinical experience.

After completing a state-approved program, aspiring LVNs can take the NCLEX-PN exam. In the United States, graduates must pass the exam before they can get their license and work as an LVN. For more information on the NCLEX-PN exam and a list of state boards of nursing, be sure to visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

A Growing Shortage of Trained Nurses

Vocational Nursing Education in California

In California, VN training is available from numerous sources that prepares students for the state licensing exam. This training ultimately provides participants with the necessary learning experiences to enter the world of Vocational Nursing.

During these training programs, future nurses become familiar with medical-related knowledge, such as the musculoskeletal system, the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system, the reproductive system, the endocrine system, immunology, oncology, obstetrics, pediatrics, and so forth.

LVN training programs often include classroom study as well as supervised clinical practice. While the classroom hours cover subjects related to patient care and basic nursing concepts, the clinical practice is usually performed in a hospital or other medical setting.

The VN Program at Unitek College

At Unitek College, VN students benefit from more than 900 hours of hands-on training in simulations, labs, and healthcare facilities. The curriculum includes subjects like:

  • Nursing fundamentals
  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical-surgical theory & clinical
  • Prenatal care
  • Basics of fetal development
  • Pediatrics
  • Professional development

The Vocational Nursing program provides the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support needed to pursue a rewarding career as a Licensed Vocational Nurse. The program is specifically designed to prepare aspiring nurses for a successful career in the field. In addition, Unitek assists students with passing the NCLEX-PN exam so that they can become Licensed Vocational Nurses in California.

If you are interested in becoming a Vocational Nurse or a Registered Nurse, contact Unitek College today for more information about classes, current schedules, and opportunities.

More Bay Area Hospitals for Bay Area Nurses

Bay Area Nursing Jobs

The 6 Best Hospitals to Start Your Job Search

Nursing school in the Bay Area can be an exciting experience. You get to learn new skills and explore a great career path in a supportive environment. Your first nursing job there will be even more exciting, as you’ll get the chance to help patients and make a real difference in their lives.

However, one of the least exciting aspects of hunting for nursing jobs in the Bay Area is the job hunting part.

Google makes this process a lot easier but there remains a lot of work to do on your part—namely identifying the best nursing employers, ensuring your resume goes to the right person, and continuously refining your cover letter. Then, there’s the waiting.

Is it all worth it? Absolutely.

To make the first step a little easier, we highlighted six of the best Bay Area hospitals where you can start your search. We will take a look at where they are, what they’re known for, and (most importantly) where to go to send in your application.

If none of the six strike you as “the one”, don’t worry! The Bay Area is full of respected and well-known hospitals and clinics that are always looking for hard-working, well-trained nurses.

Job-Hunting-Help-for-Bay-Area-Nurses

1. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital – San Francisco, CA

Who They Are: With over 183 beds, UCSF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital specializes in emergency care and special treatment for young patients in the Bay Area.

Bragging Points: A 50-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, recreational therapy, and multiple outreach clinics throughout Northern California.

How To Apply: All job information can be found here, including information on the training of RN’s who are just starting out.

2. El Camino Hospital – Mountain View, CA

Who They Are: According to their website, for more than half a century, El Camino Hospital “has had a reputation for high caliber physicians, innovative services and powerful commitment to meeting the needs of our community.”

Bragging Points: Home of the South Asian Heart Center, which provides screening, counseling, and education for Bay Area residents of South Asian or Indian descent, citing those populations as ones at a much greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. They also offer specialized healthcare to Bay Area Chinese community members through their Chinese Health Initiative.

How To Apply: Search available jobs by clicking here.

3. Saint Mary’s Medical Center – San Francisco, CA

Who They Are: The oldest continuously operating hospital in the city, St Mary’s Hospital was originally formed to care for a city suffering through cholera (later typhoid and influenza). Today, the hospital continues to operate on the belief that “all people deserve medical care, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or circumstances.”

Bragging Points: Part of a healthcare group called Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West) with 400 care sites across 22-states, including 39 hospitals. The hospital’s mission is to go beyond medical care alone, offering Chronic, Palliative, and Spiritual care as a part of their holistic care program.

How To Apply : Search and apply for work by clicking here.

More Bay Area Hospitals for Bay Area Nurses

4. Kindred Hospital – San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Who They Are: Kindred Hospital is a transitional care hospital—meaning they offer the same care as most hospitals, but they cater specifically to patients who have an extended recovery period ahead of them.

Bragging Points: Offering 99 patient beds plus a 10-bed ICU and two negative pressure rooms, Kindred is well-equipped to provide specialized care during those longer recovery periods. This includes programs that focus specifically on those recovering from a recent organ transplant, stroke recovery, post-intensive care syndrome, wound care, and IV antibiotic therapy.

How To Apply: Click here to search available jobs at Kindred Hospital (or their “at home” and hospice care units).

5. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital – Palo Alto, CA

Who They Are: A branch of Stanford Children’s Health, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is part of the only health care system in the Bay Area that exclusively focuses on pediatrics and obstetrics. With a total of 60 locations across the Bay Area, Stanford Children’s Health offers everything from treatments for rare and complex conditions to well-child care.

Bragging Points: Not only have they been ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties by US News and World Reports, but the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital just recently expanded, adding an additional 521,000 square feet to their hospital building.

How To Apply: Search open jobs and apply by clicking here. You can also test the waters as a volunteer by clicking here.

6. Eden Medical Center – Castro Valley, CA

Who They Are: A member of the Sutter Health family, Eden Medical Center “is the regional trauma center for Southern Alameda County and features many centers of excellence, including neurosciences, orthopedics, rehabilitation, birthing center, imaging, stroke and cancer care.”

Bragging Points: Eden Medical Center boasts 130 beds (all private rooms), but even more impressive is the Sutter Health not-for-profit mission. Sutter Health is known for reinvesting funds back into their communities, and claim to care for more low-income Northern California patients than any other health system.

How To Apply: You can find a list of open nursing jobs by clicking here.

Certification for Medical Assistants

Of course, there are over 30 hospitals in the Bay Area alone, and the ones we’ve highlighted only scratch the surface. Hopefully, as you learn more about your local hospitals, their rich history, and their unique missions, you’ll come to appreciate the job hunt experience as an opportunity to learn about all the incredible hospitals in this area of California.

If you are interested in becoming a nurse or a Medical Assistantcontact Unitek College today for more information about classes, current schedules, and opportunities.

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

3 Essential Health Tips for Nurse Practitioners

The definition of “work” has changed a lot in the last century. Not long ago, “work” meant laboring—moving, sweating, lifting, plowing, and a host of other physical activities. But over the past several decades, much of our work has shifted indoors and behind desks… and this doesn’t bode well for our health.

“Most of us spend about 75 percent of our day sitting or being sedentary,” warns Dr. Meredith Peddie. “This behavior has been linked to increased rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and overall mortality.”

Nurses and Medical Assistants aren’t exempt, either. One recent study noted that employees who work shifts (specifically nurses) have a much more difficult time scheduling physical activity.

None of this is new, though. We’ve known for a while that anything sedentary is bad for us. Nurses and nurse practitioners are constantly on the lookout for hypertension and lower back pain that can result from extended periods of sitting or inactivity. Resolving this issue may feel impossible, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re a nurse or healthcare professional looking to stay healthy, the following tips and recipes will help you on your journey to wellness.

Is Your Nursing Shift Keeping You From Regular Exercise? Try Irregular

1. Embrace Irregular Exercising

Look up any article on healthy living and the word that always precedes “exercise” is “regular.” Shift work has an unpredictability that makes regular exercise difficult. And when you look at the prescribed amount of regular exercise—a little more than 20 minutes a day, or just two and a half hours per week—it’s easy to come to the conclusion “why bother?” After all, if you can’t do the minimum suggested amount, anything less is a waste of time, right?

Wrong!

As researchers continue to study the impact of exercise on the human body, one thing keeps coming up: Something is always better than nothing.

When it comes to prolonged sitting, for example, Dr. Peddie’s research found that even short interruptions to sitting had distinctly positive impacts on a person’s health. Amazingly, neither the intensity level nor the age/weight of those monitored seemed to matter. They simply needed to get up and move more often.

Mere minutes of exercise can begin to alter your muscles’ DNA, turning on certain genes for your strength and metabolism. You’ll also get the mental boost that comes from endorphins and serotonin, both of which are released within one exercise session. Even the way your body metabolizes fat improves with just one good session of sweat—and because of this, just that one workout can improve your resistance to diabetes.

Not only does your body improve with a single exercise session, your mind and spirits do as well. That means improved focus and a decrease in stress, even if you just work out for ten minutes!

Obviously, regular exercise is still the healthiest option, but intermittent exercise certainly has its benefits as well. So the next time you finish your shift, toss your dirty scrubs, and are deciding between your workout clothes or your comfy sweatpants, remember that even a quick workout is better than none at all.

2. Register for the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Challenge

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

The “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation” challenge is sponsored by the American Nurses Association, and its premise is simple: By improving the health and lifestyle of all nurses, those nurses can then set a healthy example for all around them. It’s a program designed to establish the nurse as a role model for personal health.

Part of the challenge is the weight that nurses put on taking proper care of their patients. Of the nurse respondents, 68% said they put their patients’ wellbeing over their own health and safety. Many times, that means taking on longer hours, sleeping less, and settling for a diet that’s more convenient than healthy.

Nurses are natural caregivers and very hard workers. They care for their patients daily, and their drive and compassion has defined the role of nursing for decades. All of which is wonderful, of course… unless it comes at the cost of their personal and mental wellbeing.

The “Healthy Nurses, Healthy Nation” (HNHN) challenge focuses on two things:

  1. Improving the physical activity, sleep quality, nutrition, quality of life, and safety of nurses.
  2. Providing an online resource for nurses to connect with each other, educate themselves on life improvements, and cultivate “friendly competition.”

3. Prepare Easy & Healthy Portable Snacks

Whether you’re a student or a healthcare professional, you should try to consume high-protein snacks that are both healthy and portable. A great article by Healthline highlights a variety of snacks that can be eaten on a break or between classes. When you live the busy life of a nurse, a Medical Assistant, or a student, the right snacks can make all the difference!

Many are full of sugar and refined carbs, though. You don’t want to be left unsatisfied or lethargic throughout the day. If possible, you should strive to find snacks that are both nutritious and packed with protein. Not only does protein promote fullness, but it slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite snacks from Healthline’s list!

Nutritious Snack Ideas for Nurses

Easy and Portable Snacks for Healthcare Professionals

  1. Veggies and Yogurt Dip: You might be wondering, what, exactly, is yogurt dip? It’s usually made from yogurt, herbs, and flavorings (think dill or lemon juice). To squeeze in more protein, you can use Greek yogurt. When it comes to convenience, we suggest that you make a big batch ahead of time and spoon it into smaller containers. Here’s a recommended recipe from Healthline.
  2. Chia Seed Pudding: This is a tasty, healthy, and popular snack. Not only is it high in protein, but it also contains omega-3 fatty acids. According to Healthline, “Snacking on chia seeds may help lower triglyceride levels, which is important for reducing the risk of heart disease.” Here’s a great recipe you can try.
  3. Homemade Granola: The title of this one is important—most store-bought granola tends to be high in added sugar. Because of this, homemade granola is usually the better option. You can make it using a combination of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and honey (or another sweetener). Thanks to its protein content, granola can make a very filling snack. Try this recipe for some magnificent granola.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds: This snack contains a great amount of protein, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and other nutrients. According to Healthline, they also provide “disease-fighting antioxidants, including vitamin E and carotenoids.” Curb your hunger by eating about an ounce of them raw or spiced and roasted.
  5. Edamame: If you’re not familiar with edamame, they are immature soybeans still in the pod. Like many of the other ideas on this list, edamame is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they also make for a quick n’ easy snack. Try a cup of steamed edamame, which can often be cooked in the microwave and found at many stories. Simply cook it and place it in a portable container, and you’re good to go!
  6. Cottage Cheese: Another filling snack that can be eaten on the go, a half cup of cottage cheese has about 14 grams of protein and a variety of nutrients. As stated by Healthline, these include important ones like calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. To make your snack even more delicious, add fruits, nuts, or a combo of both.
  7. Nut Butter: The ultimate portable snack, nut butter is full of nutrients and protein. In the U.S., many stores carry single-serving packets of nut butter, making it easy to grab one before you head out the door. One common brand is Justin’s, which offers snacks made of peanut butter, almond butter, and hazelnut butter.
  8. Protein Shakes: Even though it’s usually ideal to get your protein from whole food sources, protein shakes can be a great alternative when you need a little something extra. For example, some scoops of protein powder provide roughly 20 grams of protein. There are countless recipes for protein shakes, all of which can be found with a simple Google search. A quick base recipe tends to involve protein powder, milk or juice, ice, and fruit.

Whether you’re a nurse, studying to be a nurse, or starting your nurse training, we hope you’ll take a look at the HNHN challenge and try some of the healthy snacks we mentioned. You’re our front lines out there, and we need you in the best shape possible—mentally and physically.

RN Programs in California

If you are interested in becoming a nurse or a Medical Assistantcontact Unitek College today for more information about classes, current schedules, and opportunities.