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How to Pick the Right LPN or LVN Training Program near Decatur Alabama

Decatur Alabama LPN with elderly female patientOnce you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Decatur AL that will provide the right education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. 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 job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.

What does an LPN or LVN Do?

Decatur Alabama LPN greeting patient with crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they complete in the Decatur AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients requiring medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine work activities can include:

    • Taking vital signs
    • Providing medicines
    • Setting up IV drips
    • Monitoring patients
    • Collecting blood or urine samples
    • Taking care of patient records
    • Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures

In addition to their occupational duties being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Decatur AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Programs

There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Decatur AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

LPN and LVN Online Programs

Decatur Alabama LPN with older male assisted living residentEnrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Decatur AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs

Now 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 options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Decatur AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Decatur AL.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, 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 Decatur 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 finish 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Decatur LPN or LVN Classes

Choose the Best Decatur Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program

Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an LPN college 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 develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Decatur AL.



 

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