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Difference Between a Licensed Vocational Nurse And A Certified Nursing Assistant

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Licensed Vocational Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants are the heartbeat of health care. They are the front line of the healthcare team. From bedside support to medication assistance, they ensure every patient receives treatment and comfort.

Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) are also known as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). They provide hands-on medical assistance and administer medications under the supervision of Registered Nurses. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) offer essential daily care, including bathing, feeding, and monitoring patients' health. Read on to learn more about their distinctions!

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LVN vs. CNA: Job roles

Though both play crucial roles in providing patient care, their scope of practice differs significantly. Understanding these differences empowers individuals to appreciate the unique contributions of these two in the healthcare system. Let's explore more about their differences through the list below.

LVN Responsibilities:

  • Assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and eating.

  • Administer medications and treatments as prescribed by healthcare professionals.

  • Support patients' mobility and transfer them safely between beds, chairs, and other areas.

  • Monitor and record patients' vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiratory rate.

  • Provide emotional support and comfort to patients and their families during their stay in healthcare facilities.

  • Help with medical procedures and treatments under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians.

  • Dress wounds, change dressings, and provide wound care as necessary.

  • Report any changes or concerns in patients' conditions to registered nurses or physicians.

  • Offer comfort and emotional support to patients during their stay in healthcare facilities.

  • Provide feeding assistance to patients, ensuring they receive proper nutrition and hydration.

  • Maintain a safe environment for patients, taking measures to prevent accidents and falls.

  • Assist with maintaining the cleanliness and organization of patient rooms and common areas.

CNA Responsibilities:

  • Assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and eating.

  • Support patients' mobility and transfer them safely between beds, chairs, and other areas.

  • Monitor and record patients' vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiratory rate.

  • Provide emotional support and comfort to patients and their families during their stay in healthcare facilities.

  • Dress wounds, change dressings, and provide wound care as necessary.

  • Report any changes or concerns in patients' conditions to registered nurses or physicians.

  • Offer comfort and emotional support to patients during their stay in healthcare facilities.

  • Provide feeding assistance to patients, ensuring they receive proper nutrition and hydration.

  • Maintain a safe environment for patients, taking measures to prevent accidents and falls.

  • Assist with maintaining the cleanliness and organization of patient rooms and common areas.

LVN vs. CNA: Education and Certification

LVNs and CNAs both need at least a high school diploma or GED as a prerequisite to their training. They both need to complete their hours of training at a state-accredited school. Becoming an LVN requires more training than becoming a CNA. LVN training programs are usually at least a year-long, but you can complete CNA programs in a few months. Additionally, CNAs must pass a certification exam, while LVNs must obtain a license.

  1. LVN Certification
  • An LVN course is generally one year in length, sometimes longer. However, certain positions may also require additional field experience or certifications. Upon successful completion of your training, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). This provides you with a certification to work as an LPN in the United States.
  1. CNA Certification
  • On average, CNAs complete a shorter training program lasting 4-16 weeks. The instruction covers both theoretical and clinical experience. Different states have different hour requirements for training: Texas has 100 hours, Minnesota and Colorado have 75 hours, Florida and Virginia have 120 hours, etc. They become certified after passing their state-competency exam for CNAs.

LVN vs. CNA: Work environment

There are a lot of similarities in their work environment because they usually work together. You can see LVNs working in long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and more. They work under the watch of Registered Nurses(RN) on their tasks. On the other hand, CNAs usually work in nursing homes, retirement homes, or similar settings. Hospitals can hire CNAs as well, together with RNs, to care for patients. However, LVNs have a broader scope of options to work in compared to CNAs because of their autonomy.

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LVN vs. CNA: Job Outlook

The future shines bright with promising opportunities as both LVNs and CNAs enjoy a positive job outlook. According to BLS, in May 2021, the average annual salary for LVNs was $48,070 (23.11/hr). Their employment growth projects a 6% increase from 2021 to 2031. CNAs' average yearly salary is $30,290 ($14.56/hr). They have an employment growth projection of a 5% increase from 2021 to 2031.

Final Thoughts

Both career paths offer unique rewards and challenges, significantly impacting the lives of patients and their families. As a CNA, you'll be able to provide direct care, create strong bonds with patients and gain valuable experience in the field. Pursuing LVN will open doors to a broader scope of practice and take on greater responsibilities. The decision to become a CNA or an LVN rests on individual interests, aspirations, and personal preferences.

Whether you choose to become a CNA or an LVN, Dreambound can make this choice a rewarding career. We can help you find the class suitable to your lifestyle, location, and budget. By investing in your education, your dream career becomes your reality. Embrace the calling that resonates with your heart, and you'll find yourself making a positive difference every step of the way.

Harold Roldan
Written by
Harold Roldan

Harold Roldan is a Growth team member at Dreambound. With a background in IT, he works with data and automation to improve team efficiency and workflows. He spends his free time playing musical instruments or studying data, computers, and technology.

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