How to Select the Best LPN or LVN School near Athens Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Athens AL that will provide the appropriate education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While price and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of duties that they carry out in the Athens AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work functions might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Athens AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Athens AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Schools Online
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Athens AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe 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, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Athens AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. 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 compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Athens 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Athens 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 looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete 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 superb reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Athens Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Athens AL.