How to Select the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training Program near Hamilton Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Hamilton AL that will provide the necessary training. 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 medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though price and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course 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 education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous functions that they complete in the Hamilton AL health facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily work activities might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their work functions being regulated by each state, the health care facilities or other Hamilton AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Hamilton AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 Schools Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Hamilton AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce 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 checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Hamilton AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Hamilton AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Hamilton 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 schools you are looking at 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 Hamilton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Hamilton AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Hamilton Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Hamilton AL.