How to Choose the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing School near Anniston Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Anniston AL that will furnish the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they complete in the Anniston AL health facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients in need of medical care is their dominion. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational responsibilities being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Anniston AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Anniston AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Anniston AL. Some 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 carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program will make it easier 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 checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Anniston 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 earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Anniston AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Anniston 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Anniston AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Anniston AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Anniston Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Anniston AL.