How to choose a Healthcare profession : CNA, LVN vs. PHL

Are you interested in stepping into the healthcare field and don’t know where to start? 

Who are Phlebotomists? Who are LVNs? What is the difference between LVN and CNA?

In this article we will focus on two different Healthcare professions in order to help you get basic information before you make an important career choice.

Let’s look at the careers of LVN, Licensed Vocational Nursing (including difference between LVN and CNA) and the PHL, Phlebotomist.

Phlebotomist (PHL)

Phlebotomy is mostly concerned with the collection of blood samples and the drawing of blood which will be later analyzed in the clinical laboratories.

To become a Phlebotomist, you will require minimum qualifications of high school diploma or equivalent education. 

Phlebotomists are trained to work in laboratories, clinics and other related medical facilities. They work under the supervision of doctors and nurses. Phlebotomists usually have dual responsibilities of Medical Assistants/ Managers (if in a small office) and Phlebotomists. 

The certification of Phlebotomy would require you to get trained on how to use the vacuum tubes, syringes and needles as well as develop the people skills and some clerical skills. 

As a Phlebotomist you will be in direct contact with patients and therefore will be trained on how to professionally handle patients. You will be undergoing the training for necessary medical terminology as well as socio-cultural skills in order to interact with patients.

Some laboratories hire Phlebotomists to also maintain patient records and therefore you will either need to be familiar with the applications used for storing the database or be trained on that at the specific site, if hired.

The salaries of Phlebotomists are around $10.00 to $12.00 per hour. Various careers that you could pursue as a Phlebotomist are Phlebotomy Technician, Blood Bank Manager, Laboratory Technician and as a Blood Bank Technician. The academic courses for Phlebotomy would last anywhere between 9 to 30 months depending on the specializations that you prefer.

Some schools and academies offer Phlebotomy training within 10 – 12 weeks, including internship and lab. 

Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN)

An LVN is licensed by the state to provide routine patient care. Some states use the term LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse rather than LVN. 

LVNs usually work at hospital, long-term care facility, convalescent homes, doctor’s office or surgical center, providing many of basic services also performed by Registered Nurses (RNs).

The LVN, however, usually are supervised by RNs or Doctors. LVNs also have help. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), also known as nurses aides, orderlies, patient care technicians, and home health aides, work under the supervision of a nurse and provide assistance to patients with daily living tasks.

Working closely with patients, CNAs are responsible for basic care services such as bathing, grooming and feeding patients, assisting nurses with medical equipment, and checking patient vital signs. CNAs give patients important social and emotional support and also provide vital information on patient conditions to nurses. Sometimes LVNs are required to do clean ups, usually this occurs in hospital settings.  Also they are involved in: preparing rooms for new patients, bathing patients and so on. In other places CNAs take the above responsibilities and LVNs supervise them.

The job roles and responsibilities of LVNs include, but are not limited to, the care of the sick and recovering patients. LVNs take care of the patient’s health by administering injections, collecting the samples for analysis, dressing applications and in some cases also performing laboratory testing and other lab work. In some states, an LVN never starts an intravenous line (IV), while in others; they may be able to obtain IV certification to perform this procedure. In areas where they do not start IVs, most LVNs can take blood or administer injections. 

The LVN is usually trained for a year to two years in anatomy, physiology, and patient care, differing from the RN, who has several more years of advanced science and frequently a four-year education. Thus it takes less time to become an LVN than RN. 

Many LVNs are interested in furthering their career to an RN and/or NP. It takes time, experience and dedication. There are public and private schools that offer bridge programs for their students, where a student after becoming an LVN and working as such can return back to school to the Bridge program. 

The salaries of the licensed vocational nurses vary between $16.00 to $20.00 to begin and go up depending upon the work experience and the job responsibilities assigned to them by the health organization which hires them.

We hope that the above information will help you to decide on your nursing career and we are glad that we could be of assistance to you.

Request information