Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree in order to have a nursing career. In fact, licensed practical nurses (LPN) and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) are very capable of providing basic nursing care and can generally begin practicing after completing a short program.1 Although some hospitals require their nurses to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing,2 there are plenty of job opportunities out there for LPNs and LVNs if you know where to look.
Carefully read job listings
As you begin your job search and browse various listings, be sure to read them carefully. If the job descriptions says “BSN preferred” but you have ample experience in nursing, apply anyway! To make your resume stand out from the crowd, be sure to highlight any certifications, awards, or leadership experiences you have. In addition, it’s a good idea to mention if you belong to any local or national nursing organizations.3
Consider additional options
You can expand your job opportunities a great deal if you consider other work environments. LPNs and LVNs can work in nursing homes, extended care facilities, physicians’ offices and private homes.4 As you search online or speak with someone in your school’s career center, keep these options in mind – not everyone has to work in a hospital.
Work your network
Never underestimate the power of an expansive personal and professional network. Each time you meet someone new in the field of health care, do what you can to cultivate that relationship. Exchange business cards, connect with that person on LinkedIn, and keep in contact. This way, when you’re ready to hunt for a job, you’ll know exactly who to contact for leads.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘How to Become a Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-4
2 Perez-Pena, Richard, The New York Times, ‘More Stringent Requirements Send Nurses Back to School,’ June 23, 2012 – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/education/changing-requirements-send-nurses-back-to-school.html?pagewanted=all
3 Scrubs Magazine, ‘How to nab a job without a BSN,’ Aug. 18, 2013 – http://scrubsmag.com/how-to-nab-a-job-without-a-bsn/
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Work Environment,’ March 29, 2013 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-3