How to Enroll In the Best LPN or LVN School near Decatur Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Decatur AL that will furnish the proper 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, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although price and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they accomplish in the Decatur AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being regulated by each state, the health care facilities or other Decatur AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Decatur AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively 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
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Decatur AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce 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 guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Decatur AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Decatur 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 Decatur 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 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Decatur Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Decatur AL.