How to Find the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Andalusia Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Andalusia AL that will provide the proper education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they perform in the Andalusia AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational functions being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Andalusia AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Andalusia AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Schools Online
Attending LPN programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Andalusia AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school 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 use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Andalusia 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 manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Andalusia AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards 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 also. 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 contact some local Andalusia 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Andalusia AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Andalusia AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Andalusia Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Andalusia AL.