How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN Training near Florence Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Florence AL that will furnish 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 distinction, 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 guidance 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 next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are significant considerations, 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 also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's have a 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 tasks that they perform in the Florence AL health facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Florence AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Florence AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, 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 course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Schools
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Florence AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that 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 pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many 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 choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Florence 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Florence AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 displeased 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 Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 also. Find out if the schools have associations 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 Training
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Florence AL.