How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN Training Program near Florence Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Florence AL that will provide the necessary training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Even though price and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they accomplish in the Florence AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work functions can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their work duties being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Florence AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Florence AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Attending LPN programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Florence AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Florence AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. 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 measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Florence AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Florence 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 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 Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Florence AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Florence Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Florence AL.