Practical/ Vocational Nursing, Nursing Assistants

Overview of Practical Nursing, Vocational Nursing and Nursing Assistants Programs

Practical nursing, vocational nursing and nursing assistant programs are offered at technical colleges and at two and four-year mainstream colleges and universities.  The programs cover patient care, administering medications, healthcare laws and ethics and nursing administration.

Practical Nursing, Vocational Nursing and Nursing Assistants Degrees

Licensed Practical Nurse Diploma, Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate, Certificate in Vocational Nursing, IV Therapy and Gerontology Certificate, Associate degree in Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurse Training and a Bachelor degree of Science in Nursing are types of non-degree and degree programs you can enroll in.  You can complete online and classroom practical nursing, vocational nursing and nursing assistants programs in as little as 18 months.

If you continue your education and get Associate or Bachelor degrees, it can take you between two and four years to graduate, depending on whether you attend school on a full-time or part-time basis.

Curriculum for Practical Nursing, Vocational Nursing and Nursing Assistants Programs

Courses covered during practical nursing, vocational nursing and nursing assistant programs are set by individual colleges and universities.  However, each school requires you to take a basis of general core courses, in addition to electives.  Core courses required at many postsecondary schools are:

  • Anatomy
  • Pediatrics
  • Drug administration
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Introduction to psychology
  • Adult care
  • Pediatrics
  • Public health
  • Office procedures
  • Medical terminology

Working in Nursing

Before you start working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN), you must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) examination.  Courses that you take while you attend classroom or online college or university programs prepare you to pass the national examination so you can get licensed as a LPN.  After you start working, you will take patients’ vital signs, administer medications to patients, dress wounds and help bathe and dress patients.  As a nursing assistant you will handle patient records, fill out insurance forms, schedule patient examinations and meetings with physicians you support and answer telephones.  Depending on where you work, you might also take patients’ blood pressure and other vital signs. As an LPN, LVN or nursing assistant, you will generally work 40 hours a week.  You can work for nursing homes, private physicians, hospitals, treatment centers, surgeons and hospitals.  You can also work for home aide organizations and provide at-home care to injured or elderly persons.

Skills gained from working in practical nursing, vocational nursing and nursing assistant include:

  • Promote health amongst family, friends and community members
  • Ability to respond to emergencies when they arise in your family and neighborhood
  • Improve the health of clients and patients
  • Educate people on steps they can take to improve their overall physical and mental health
  • Provide senior citizens with at-home care when they experience health challenges
  • Patience and the ability to treat others with respect, regardless of their life situation
  • Offer critical support to registered nurses (RNs) and physicians
  • Provide pertinent administrative assistant to doctors and surgeons
Job Opportunities in Nursing

After you complete your practical nursing, vocational nursing and nursing assistants academic training programs you can continue your education to take and pass RN licensing examinations so you can get promoted and start earning higher annual wages.  As of May 2008, there were approximately 753,600 LPNs and LVNs working in the country.  From 2008 through 2018, the career field is expected to grow by 21 percent according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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