How to Choose the Right LPN or LVN School near Guntersville Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Guntersville AL that will provide the appropriate instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While cost and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training 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 does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of tasks that they complete in the Guntersville AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being regulated by each state, the medical facilities or other Guntersville AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Guntersville AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 warrants 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.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Guntersville AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many 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 affordable. And a large number of 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 training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Guntersville AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Guntersville 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, 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 preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Guntersville 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Guntersville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Guntersville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Guntersville Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select 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 an LPN or LVN in Guntersville AL.