How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN Program near Helena Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Helena AL that will furnish the right 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, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. While price and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, such as 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 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 education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they carry out in the Helena AL medical facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical assistance is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being regulated by each state, the medical facilities or other Helena AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN ProgramsThere are generally two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Helena AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide 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 warrants that the core curriculum 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 Programs
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Helena AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Helena AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Helena AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers 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. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Helena 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 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 favorable reputation within the Helena AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Helena AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Helena Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Helena AL.