How to Select the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Hartselle Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Hartselle AL that will deliver the right education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision 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 cover later in this article. But first, 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 a number of functions that they carry out in the Hartselle AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance 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 day-to-day job functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work functions being regulated by each state, the healthcare 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, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN ProgramsThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Hartselle AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing 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 pursue, 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 warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Hartselle AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Hartselle AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Hartselle 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) as well as 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Hartselle 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 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 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 superb reputation within the Hartselle AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Hartselle AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Hartselle Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose 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 Hartselle AL.