How to Select the Best LPN or LVN Course near Fairhope Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Fairhope AL that will deliver the proper instruction. If you reside 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 healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the role 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 functions that they carry out in the Fairhope AL healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily job activities can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work responsibilities being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Fairhope AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Fairhope AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 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 usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Schools Online
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Fairhope AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that 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 probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Fairhope AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Fairhope AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain 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 exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Fairhope 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairhope AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Fairhope AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Fairhope Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential 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 create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Fairhope AL.