How to Select the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Program near Helena Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Helena AL that will deliver the right training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare 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 talk about in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications 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 extremely important also. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's 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 many duties that they complete in the Helena AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical care is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job activities can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Helping physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being governed by each state, the medical facilities or other Helena AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Helena AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Helena AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. 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 responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Helena AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Helena AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs differ 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in 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 working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Helena 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Helena AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with local Helena AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Helena Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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 an LPN or LVN in Helena AL.