How Do I Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Kristie Lorette
Kristie Lorette
A LVN taking a person's medical history.
A LVN taking a person's medical history.

A licensed vocational nurse is also known as an LVN. An interchangeable title is also a licensed practical nurse or LPN. An LVN works under the direction of a doctor or a physician to care for patients. A licensed vocational nurse also works under the direction of a registered nurse. To become a licensed vocational nurse, you first have to undergo the proper educational training and then obtain your license.

First, you have to identify an accredited educational institution that offers nursing training programs. Typically, the program lasts about 12 months. You can usually find accredited courses at local community colleges, vocational and technical schools. You have to complete a state-approved program before you can apply for your license.

The training program combines classroom training with patient care training. The classroom learning consists of subjects such as first aid, patient care, nutrition, anatomy, pharmacology physiology, obstetrics nursing, medical-surgical nursing and pediatrics. Hands-on training typically places you in a hospital, where you will learn patient care, procedures and more. Once you satisfactorily complete your training, you can then work on obtaining your license.

In order to become a licensed vocational nurse, you must sit for and pass The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-PN. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is responsible for the development and administration of the NCLEX-PN. The exam is taken on a computer, so you will need to be comfortable using this technology, as well as knowing and understanding the material the exam covers.

Four primary areas are covered on the exam. These four areas include physiological integrity, safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance and psychosocial integrity. Once you pass the exam, you need to contact the state nursing board where you want to practice. Each state has its own criteria and requirements you must meet to become a licensed vocational nurse. Some states may have additional training programs that must be complete above and beyond the year-long training and passing the exam.

For example, the state of Florida has a specific policy and procedure for reviewing applications of applicants that have a criminal history. If you have a criminal history, you will need to submit an explanation of the situation. Your application goes before a special review committee to determine if you will be able to practice as an LVN in the state. If you have a desire to become a licensed vocational nurse, the best place to start is with the state nursing board, so you can identify all of the criteria before embarking on your new career.

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    • A LVN taking a person's medical history.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      A LVN taking a person's medical history.