How to Find the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Fairfield Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Fairfield AL that will deliver the proper training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course 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 training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they perform in the Fairfield AL medical facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical care is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational responsibilities being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Fairfield AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Fairfield AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Fairfield AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore 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 more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions 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 use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Fairfield AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairfield AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs are different 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Fairfield 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Fairfield AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Fairfield AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Fairfield Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Fairfield AL.