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EKG vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

EKG vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

Are you interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, but not sure which path to take? Two popular options are becoming an EKG technician or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). Both roles play a crucial part in patient care, but they have distinct differences in job responsibilities, education and training requirements, as well as career outlook and salary. In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between an EKG technician and a Licensed Vocational Nurse to help you make an informed decision about your future in healthcare.

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Introduction

Healthcare is a rapidly growing field, and there are many career opportunities available for individuals who want to make a difference in people's lives. Among the various roles in healthcare, EKG technicians and Licensed Vocational Nurses are highly sought after. While both professions involve working closely with patients, they have different areas of focus and require different levels of education and training.

What is an EKG and Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Before we delve into the differences between an EKG technician and a Licensed Vocational Nurse, let's first understand what each role entails.

  • EKG Technician:

    • An EKG technician is a healthcare professional who specializes in performing electrocardiograms (EKGs) on patients.
    • EKGs are tests that record the electrical activity of the heart and are used to diagnose and monitor various heart conditions.
    • EKG technicians work under the supervision of physicians, cardiologists, or other healthcare professionals.
    • They are responsible for preparing patients for EKG procedures, attaching electrodes to the patient's body, operating the EKG machine, and recording and analyzing the results.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse:

    • A Licensed Vocational Nurse, also known as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), provides basic nursing care to patients under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or physicians.
    • LVNs work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home healthcare.
    • Their responsibilities include taking vital signs, administering medications, collecting samples for lab testing, dressing wounds, providing basic patient care, and assisting with patient assessments.

Difference between an EKG and Licensed Vocational Nurse

While both EKG technicians and Licensed Vocational Nurses are involved in patient care, there are several key differences between the two roles:

  • Scope of Practice:

    • EKG Technicians:
      • EKG technicians have a more specialized scope of practice focused solely on performing EKGs.
      • Their primary responsibility is to ensure accurate and high-quality EKG recordings.
      • They do not administer medications or provide direct patient care beyond the EKG procedure itself.
    • Licensed Vocational Nurses:
      • LVNs have a broader scope of practice that includes providing direct patient care.
      • They are responsible for administering medications, monitoring patient health, assisting with patient assessments, and providing basic nursing care.
      • LVNs work closely with RNs and physicians to ensure the overall well-being of their patients.
  • Level of Independence:

    • EKG Technicians:

      • EKG technicians typically work under the direct supervision of physicians, cardiologists, or other healthcare professionals.
      • They follow specific protocols and guidelines when performing EKG procedures.
      • EKG technicians may work independently, but their work is always reviewed by a healthcare professional.
    • Licensed Vocational Nurses:

      • LVNs have more autonomy in their practice compared to EKG technicians.
      • They can work independently and make decisions regarding patient care within their scope of practice.
      • However, LVNs still work under the supervision of RNs or physicians and consult with them when necessary.
  • Level of Patient Interaction:

    • EKG Technicians:

      • EKG technicians have limited direct patient interaction.
      • They primarily interact with patients during the EKG procedure, ensuring their comfort and explaining the process.
      • After the procedure, the results are typically handed over to the healthcare professional overseeing the patient's care.
    • Licensed Vocational Nurses:

      • LVNs have extensive patient interaction as they provide direct care to patients.
      • They build rapport with patients, address their concerns, and provide emotional support.
      • LVNs play a vital role in educating patients and their families about their conditions and self-care.

EKG vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Job Description

Now that we understand the key differences between an EKG technician and a Licensed Vocational Nurse, let's delve deeper into their respective job descriptions.

  • EKG Technician Job Description:

    • Prepare patients for EKG procedures by explaining the process and ensuring their comfort.
    • Attach electrodes to the patient's chest, limbs, and other areas according to the specific EKG requirements.
    • Operate and adjust the EKG machine to obtain accurate and high-quality recordings.
    • Monitor the patient's vital signs during the procedure.
    • Record and analyze the EKG results for healthcare professionals to interpret.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Job Description:

    • Administer medications and injections as prescribed by physicians.
    • Assist with patient assessments and monitor patient health.
    • Take and record vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate.
    • Collect samples for lab testing and perform basic laboratory procedures.
    • Provide wound care, dressings, and assist with basic patient care.
    • Educate patients and their families about their conditions, medications, and self-care.

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EKG vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Education and Training

The education and training requirements for an EKG technician and a Licensed Vocational Nurse differ significantly.

  • EKG Technician Education and Training:

    • To become an EKG technician, you typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Many community colleges and technical schools offer EKG technician certificate programs that can be completed in as little as six months.
    • These programs provide hands-on training in performing EKG procedures, understanding EKG waveforms, and using EKG equipment.
    • Some employers may also require certification as a Certified EKG Technician (CET) from a recognized organization, such as the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Education and Training:

    • To become a Licensed Vocational Nurse, you must complete a state-approved vocational nursing program.
    • These programs generally take about one year to complete and are offered by community colleges and vocational schools.
    • The curriculum includes classroom instruction in subjects like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing fundamentals.
    • Students also gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations in various healthcare settings.
    • After completing the program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed.

EKG vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Career Outlook and Salary

When considering a career in healthcare, it's essential to evaluate the career outlook and salary potential for each profession.

  • EKG Technician Career Outlook:

    • The demand for EKG technicians is expected to grow steadily due to the aging population and the increasing prevalence of heart disease.
    • EKG technicians can find employment in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, and cardiac rehabilitation centers.
    • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including EKG technicians, was $59,410 as of May 2020.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Career Outlook:

    • The demand for Licensed Vocational Nurses is projected to grow faster than average, mainly due to the aging population and the need for long-term care.
    • LVNs can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home healthcare.
    • The BLS reports that the median annual wage for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses was $48,820 as of May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in healthcare is an important decision that requires careful consideration of your interests, skills, and goals. Both EKG technicians and Licensed Vocational Nurses play vital roles in patient care, but they have distinct differences in job responsibilities, education and training requirements, as well as career outlook and salary. By understanding these differences, you can make an informed decision about which path is best suited for you. Whether you choose to become an EKG technician or a Licensed Vocational Nurse, both professions offer rewarding opportunities to contribute to the well-being of others and make a positive impact in the healthcare field.

Dreambound provides programs in various locations. Explore these blogs for in-depth information on the two vocations, including their specific requirements and instructions on how to become a part of them:

Jessa Guzon
Written by
Jessa Guzon

Jessa Guzon is a member of the School Growth and Customer Success Team in Dreambound. She finds joy in assisting both schools and students in reaching their goals by answering their queries and connecting them with the right people. Outside her professional role, Jessa is a happy-go-lucky person with a thirst for adventure.

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