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Graduate Nursing vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

Graduate Nursing vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

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Key Points:

  • Graduate Nurses have more advanced clinical duties, while Licensed Vocational Nurses focus on basic patient care.
  • Graduate Nurses typically earn higher salaries than Licensed Vocational Nurses.
  • Both nursing roles are in high demand.
  • Graduate Nurses require a master's degree, while Licensed Vocational Nurses complete a shorter, vocational-level program.
  • Graduate Nursing programs are more expensive and take longer to complete than Licensed Vocational Nurse training.

Nursing is a rewarding career choice that offers a range of opportunities for those who are passionate about helping others. Whether you choose to become a graduate nurse or a licensed vocational nurse, you will play a vital role in caring for patients and promoting their well-being. However, it's important to understand the distinctions between these two paths to ensure you choose the one that aligns with your career goals and aspirations.

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What is a Graduate Nursing and Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Before we delve into the differences between graduate nursing and licensed vocational nursing, let's first define each role:

Graduate Nursing

Graduate nursing refers to individuals who have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher degree in nursing. These individuals are also referred to as registered nurses (RNs) and have completed the necessary education and training required to become licensed healthcare professionals. Graduate nurses are qualified to provide a wide range of healthcare services, including administering medication, performing physical examinations, and developing treatment plans.

Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

A licensed vocational nurse (LVN) is a healthcare professional who has completed a practical nursing program and has obtained a license to practice in their state. LVNs work under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians, providing basic patient care such as monitoring vital signs, administering medications, and assisting with activities of daily living.

Difference between a Graduate Nursing and Licensed Vocational Nurse

While both graduate nursing and licensed vocational nursing involve providing patient care, there are several key differences between the two roles. These differences include:

  1. Scope of Practice: Graduate nurses have a broader scope of practice compared to licensed vocational nurses. They are trained to provide a wide range of healthcare services, including assessing patients, developing care plans, and administering medications. LVNs, on the other hand, have a more limited scope of practice and primarily assist with basic patient care tasks.

  2. Supervision: Graduate nurses often work independently or with minimal supervision, whereas LVNs work under the direct supervision of registered nurses or physicians. This means that graduate nurses have more autonomy in their decision-making and patient care responsibilities.

  3. Education and Training: Graduate nurses are required to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher degree in nursing. This typically takes four years to complete and includes both classroom instruction and clinical rotations. LVNs, on the other hand, complete a practical nursing program, which can be completed in about one year. The training for LVNs is more focused on practical skills and less on theoretical knowledge.

  4. Licensure: Graduate nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to obtain their nursing license. LVNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed.

Graduate Nursing vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Job Description

Now let's take a closer look at the job descriptions for graduate nursing and licensed vocational nursing:

Graduate Nursing Job Description

Graduate nurses, or registered nurses, have a wide range of responsibilities and job duties. Some common job responsibilities include:

  • Assessing patients' health conditions and documenting their medical histories
  • Developing and implementing patient care plans
  • Administering medications and treatments
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs and reporting any changes to healthcare providers
  • Educating patients and their families on health promotion and disease prevention
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care

Licensed Vocational Nurse Job Description

Licensed vocational nurses primarily provide basic patient care and support. Some common job responsibilities include:

  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs and reporting any abnormalities
  • Administering medications and treatments under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians
  • Collecting samples for laboratory testing
  • Assisting with patient assessments and documenting findings
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families

Graduate Nursing vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Education and Training

The education and training requirements for graduate nursing and licensed vocational nursing differ significantly. Here's what you need to know:

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Graduate Nursing Education and Training

To become a graduate nurse, you must complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher degree in nursing. This typically takes four years to complete and includes coursework in areas such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing theory. In addition to classroom instruction, graduate nursing programs also require students to complete clinical rotations, where they gain hands-on experience providing patient care in a variety of healthcare settings.

Licensed Vocational Nurse Education and Training

To become a licensed vocational nurse, you must complete a practical nursing program, which can be completed in about one year. Practical nursing programs are offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and some hospitals. These programs include both classroom instruction and clinical rotations, where students learn the practical skills necessary to provide basic patient care.

Graduate Nursing vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Career Outlook and Salary

When considering a career in nursing, it's important to understand the career outlook and salary potential for each role. Here's what you can expect:

Graduate Nursing Career Outlook and Salary

The demand for registered nurses is projected to grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is faster than the average for all occupations and is driven by factors such as an aging population and increased access to healthcare services. In terms of salary, the median annual wage for registered nurses was $75,330 in May 2020.

Licensed Vocational Nurse Career Outlook and Salary

The demand for licensed vocational nurses is also projected to grow, albeit at a slightly slower pace than registered nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9% growth rate for licensed vocational nurses from 2019 to 2029. The median annual wage for licensed vocational nurses was $47,480 in May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a graduate nurse or a licensed vocational nurse is a personal decision that should be based on your interests, goals, and aspirations. Both paths offer rewarding opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. Consider your desired level of responsibility, scope of practice, and educational requirements when making your decision. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a career path that aligns with your passion for nursing and your desire to provide quality patient care.

Dreambound's educational programs open doors to exciting opportunities. For a more comprehensive understanding of the potential within these two vocations, we invite you to explore further details by visiting:

Arwena Payumo
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Arwena Payumo
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