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ACC Alum Uses LVN Degree to Battle COVID-19

05/22/2020

Elizabeth Sepedian completed the vocational nursing program at American Career College-Los Angeles in 2018 and is now working as a charge nurse at a skilled nursing facility. But she’s by no means finished with her education. We spoke with Elizabeth about her work, career goals and views about the nursing profession.

What are the duties of an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse)?

The role of the LVN is to be a team member in a large group of healthcare professionals. We work with CNAs, RNs and doctors to offer patients the highest quality of care. As LVNs we take and give orders to ensure everyone on the team works as efficiently as possible.

What is the difference between an LVN and an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)?

They’re basically the same occupation — it’s just different terminology. The term LVN is used in California and Texas, while LPN is used throughout the rest of the country.

Tell us about your current work.

I work at Grand Valley Healthcare Center, a skilled nursing facility in Van Nuys. I have a wide range of responsibilities there, such as giving medication, treating complex wounds, administering tube feedings and adapting to patients’ ever-changing needs. The most important aspects of my job are ensuring patients’ comfort, giving them support and keeping them safe while they regain or maintain their level of functioning.  

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your duties?

It’s been particularly difficult for patients since visitors have been restricted. We’ve had to keep families up to date by phone, video chat, and visits through windows. I wear a mask and face shield during my entire shift and ensure everyone is practicing 6-foot social distancing. Our knowledge of infection control has really been put to the test, and we continue to learn about how to keep ourselves and patients safe through frequent in-service meetings.  

When did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?

I strongly believe every nurse has a personal calling to care for others and make a difference. I’ve been told countless times I sound like a pageant contestant when I start talking about my career, but I always wanted to be a nurse and I love it. There have been roadblocks along the way, but I never gave up. I’m still in school getting my bachelor of science degree in nursing at West Coast University-Los Angeles. I have a year left in the program. My plan is to specialize in aesthetic nursing and hopefully someday open my own medical spa. I’m really happy I became an LVN first because the knowledge I acquired has really helped with my current course work. I’ve also been able to apply what I’ve learned in my current job.

How did the ACC program prepare you for your career?

I can’t thank ACC enough for who and where I am today. My instructors went above and beyond every day — because of them and their support I feel very qualified to do what I’m doing now. Every minute spent in class was a minute spent learning, and every day during clinical we acquired valuable skills. As a result, the transition between school and work has been extremely easy for me. 

What advice do you have for people interested in going into nursing?

You have to have compassion for people. Half of a nurse’s job is to be there for their patients. The other half is to apply knowledge and critical thinking to adapt to quickly changing environments. Nursing is hard work but it’s worth it if it’s truly your passion. 

ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.

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