How to Pick the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Alabaster Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Alabaster AL that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. While cost and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they complete in the Alabaster AL health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily job functions may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work functions being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Alabaster AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Alabaster AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Alabaster AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Alabaster AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Alabaster AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Alabaster AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Alabaster AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Alabaster Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Alabaster AL.