How to Choose the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Huntsville AL that will provide the proper education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While price and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, 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 course that we will discuss 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 is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different tasks that they perform in the Huntsville AL health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job functions being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Huntsville AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN CoursesThere are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Huntsville AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 Programs Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Huntsville AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things 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 on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Huntsville AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Huntsville AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Huntsville 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 schools 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Huntsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Huntsville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Huntsville Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Huntsville AL.