How to Find the Right LPN or LVN Course near Fultondale Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Fultondale AL that will deliver the proper instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare 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 talk about in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function 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 tasks that they complete in the Fultondale AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients in need of medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their work functions being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Fultondale AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Fultondale AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Fultondale AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount 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 solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions 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 utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Fultondale AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Fultondale AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ 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. Some 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Fultondale 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Fultondale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Fultondale AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Fultondale Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final 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 Fultondale AL.