How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN College near Calera Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Calera AL that will provide the right education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications 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 very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous functions that they complete in the Calera AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking 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 everyday work functions may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job duties being controlled by each state, the health care facilities or other Calera AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN TrainingThere are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Calera AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Calera AL. Certain schools will require attending 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 balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Calera AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Calera AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Calera AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Calera AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Calera AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Calera Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, 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 medical community. By utilizing 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Calera AL.