If you're considering pursuing a career as a licensed vocational nurse, or LVN, chances are that you have encountered at least a few of the common myths about the profession. All too often, misunderstandings about what licensed vocational nursing is about prevent people who would be great LVNs from ever taking that first step. Before ruling out a career as an LVN, then, it pays to learn the truth behind the most common LVN myths. Read on to learn more about them.
Top 8 Myths About LVNs
A ton of misinformation is always swirling around out there about nursing in general and licensed vocational nursing specifically. For various reasons, certain myths regarding this profession have developed and been reinforced over time. Those who don't know any better readily believe these myths because they don't tend to be too outlandish. By learning about these myths, you'll recognize them when you see them, and you can do your part to stop perpetuating them:
- LVNs are Not Real Nurses - One of the most unfair judgments that can be made about the field of licensed vocational nursing is the idea that LVNs aren't real nurses at all. Given that the term "nurse" appears right in the job title, however, this is patently untrue. Like registered nurses, who are often regarded as "real" nurses, LVNs must undergo approved training, and they must earn their licenses before they can enter the workforce. In every way, shape and form, LVNs are indeed nurses, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
- LVNS are Just RNs Who Couldn't Cut It - Another very hurtful and completely untrue myth about LVNs is that all of them really want to be RNs but couldn't handle nursing school. Again, this is completely false. Oftentimes, aspiring RNs start out as LVNs to get their foot in the door. Later, they continue their training and progress to become RNs. Plenty of others, however, are perfectly happy as LVNs and remain in this position throughout their careers. There are lots of LVNs who have never even entertained the idea of becoming RNs even though they could easily complete the training.
- LVNs Can't Be Educators - Since they are usually the most entry-level professionals in a healthcare setting, it isn't too common for LVNs to train others. As a result, many people are under the impression that LVNs are restricted from educating others. Again, this is completely false. For one thing, CNAs have less experience than LVNs, and they are often trained by LVNs to gain more skills. Also, experienced LVNs routinely assist in training newcomers. It's not unheard of for LVNs to lead group training sessions in some cases too.
- The Work and Training are Easy - Because the training to become an LVN is much briefer and less expensive than that to become an RN, people often assume that it means that it's really easy. In reality, the exact opposite is generally true. LVN training programs are short, but they are intense. Students must absorb a vast amount of information, and they must acquire a wide array of new skills. Working as an LVN is also very challenging. It never gets "easy," but it becomes more manageable as you gain more experience.
- Few Employers Hire LVNs - Lately, there has been a major push for nurses who have bachelor's degrees. For this reason, many people are under the impression that most employers aren't looking for LVNs. That's not the case at all. LVNs still overwhelmingly work at nursing homes and assisted living centers, but they can also find gainful employment at hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices and many other facilities. Anywhere where healthcare services are administered, there is likely to be work available for qualified LVNs.
- There's a Lot of Workplace Drama - Thanks to soap operas that take place in hospitals and other healthcare settings, many people believe that LVNs and other healthcare professionals are constantly engaged in workplace drama. However, assuming that this is universally true about LVNs is unfair. The truth is that this type of thing isn't more common among certain professions. Rather, it occurs on a case-by-case basis. Before accepting a job as an LVN, find out what others have to say about the workplace environment. If it sounds like a lot of turmoil, cross it off the list and look elsewhere.
- Only Women are LVNs - Since the vast majority of licensed practical nurses are women, people assume that men aren't even allowed to be LVNs. Of course, this is not true at all. For one thing, such a rule would be very discriminatory, as there is nothing about this work that precludes men from completing it. For another, more and more men are entering the nursing field, so it's becoming more and more common to see male LVNs at various facilities. If you are a man who wants to be an LVN, nothing is stopping you.
- There's No Room for Advancement - Finally, being an LVN is often described as a dead-end job. People tend to think that LVNs have no room for advancement. Within the field itself, however, you can earn specialty certifications that may allow you access to better pay and other perks. While working as an LVN, you can always work toward your RN license by either earning an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, or a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. From there, there are all kinds of advancement opportunities.
Don't let unfair and untrue misconceptions about licensed vocational nursing prevent you from realizing your dream. The fact is that thousands of people are happily employed as LVNs, and there is no reason that you can't be too. Just ignore the myths and focus on being the best LVN that you can be.