How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN Course near Bay Minette Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Bay Minette AL that will furnish the right 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, except for 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 following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's 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 functions that they carry out in the Bay Minette AL health facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine job functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job duties being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Bay Minette AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Bay Minette AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter 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 warrants that the course of study properly 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 Bay Minette AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program 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 on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Bay Minette AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Bay Minette AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some 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 attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Bay Minette AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Bay Minette AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Bay Minette AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Bay Minette Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Bay Minette AL.