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…
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.
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.
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
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:
- Complete an approved educational program—Contact your state’s board of nursing for a list of approved programs.
- 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.
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
- Medical-surgical theory & clinical
- Prenatal care
- Basics of fetal development
- 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.