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What does a Vocational Nurse do?

A vocational nurse, sometimes called a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN), works with registered nurses to provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to patients. LVNs and LPNs receive the same training and pass the same licensure test; the only difference is the title.

In California and Texas, vocational nurses are called LVNs. In the other 48 states, nurses with similar training are called practical nurses or LPNs.

On the Job

A vocational nurse provides care under the direction of a registered nurse or physician. They administer medications, provide wound care, monitor body systems, keep patients comfortable, assist with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, and feeding) and educate patients and families.

In some states, vocational nurses can start IVs. They often provide care for a group of patients and work closely with other vocational nurses, registered nurses and nursing assistants.

vocational nurse

Where Vocational Nurses Work

Vocational nurses work in a variety of settings. Most–28 percent–work in residential care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living settings. A vocational nurse can also work in medical clinics, hospitals, mental health facilities and patients’ homes. Some vocational nurses work in dental offices or optometrist offices.

Education

Vocational nurses attend a one-year training course that’s typically offered at a community or vocational college. The course includes classroom work in the basic health sciences and nursing care. Clinical rotations are incorporated to give students real-life, hands-on experience with nursing skills such as administering medication, monitoring vital signs and juggling the care of two or more patients.

After graduation, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination- Practical Nurse (NCLEX – PN) to become licensed. Vocational nurses must also meet the requirements of their state board of nursing to become eligible for employment.

Demand

Demand for vocational nurses is expected to grow by 21 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand varies by geographic area and employment setting. Demand is particularly strong in the South and West; Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas employ many vocational nurses.

Nursing care facilities, clinics and home care agencies are expected to hire most vocational nurses in the future as care moves out of hospitals and the population ages. Wages are typically highest for vocational nurses who work with employment agencies or in nursing care facilities.

What does an X-ray Technician do?

Have you ever wished you had the ability to see right through people? Ever wanted the super power of x-ray vision? X-ray technician (often called radiographers) might be the job for you. You can be in charge of diagnostic imaging examinations, which include x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and mammography. As a technician, your primary responsibility is most likely to prepare patients for the exam, making sure that minimal radiation exposure is present.

Job requirements for x-ray technicians

The key requirements to succeed in this field are simple: follow instructions and safety protocol. This includes following physicians’ orders precisely and making sure to conform to regulations concerning the use of radiation for the protection of patients, coworkers and yourself. You may also be responsible for preparing operating equipment for each procedure, as well as maintain that equipment, keep patient records and follow HIPPA standards. In addition, you can assume more responsibility and complete tasks such as complex imaging, like viewing the soft tissue in the body.

x-ray technician

Training to become an x-ray technician

Your new special skills of x-ray vision can be acquired in as little as 21-24 months. The minimum educational requirement asked by most employers is a certificate. There are also associate degrees and bachelor’s degress available in the field. They take more time to obtain, but can lead to career and salary advancements with additional work experience. After completing the training program that best suits you, you will likely have to obtain licensure since most states require all x-ray technicians to be licensed.

See through your career

As an x-ray technician, you can choose from multiple career paths. Depending on which is more important to you, money or work hours, you can be a tech in a regular doctor’s office with weekday hours, which pays slightly less than the average for professionals in this field, or you can chose to work in a medical or diagnostic lab or a federal executive branch, which generally pays more than the national average for this profession.

Choosing to become a specialist in a certain field, performing more advanced scans such as CTs, MRIs, mammography, or bone densitometry, may improve your employment opportunities. You can also seek further education in order to advance your career as a radiologic assistant. With enough experience in the field you could advance to supervisor over a radiology department, or to Chief radiologic technician. You could also become a department administrator or director.