How to Enroll In the Best LPN or LVN Program near Dothan Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Dothan AL that will deliver the necessary 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, 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. But their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have 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 many different tasks that they complete in the Dothan AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients seeking medical assistance is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work duties being governed by each state, the health facilities or other Dothan AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Dothan AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Dothan AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, 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 field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Dothan AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Dothan 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Dothan AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Dothan AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Dothan Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Dothan AL.