How to Choose the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Classes near Hartselle Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Hartselle AL that will deliver the necessary instruction. If you reside 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 perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they perform in the Hartselle AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical care is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Hartselle AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Hartselle AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive 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 attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Hartselle AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient 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 utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Hartselle AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Hartselle 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. Some states require a specific 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 excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Hartselle 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 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 good reputation within the Hartselle AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Hartselle AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Hartselle Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Hartselle AL.