How to Enroll In the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Alexander City Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Alexander City AL that will furnish the proper education. If you reside 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 perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different functions that they complete in the Alexander City AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day job functions might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Alexander City AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Alexander City AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Alexander City AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Alexander City AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Alexander City AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Alexander City AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Alexander City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Alexander City AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alexander City Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Alexander City AL.