How to Enroll In the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing School near Huntsville Alabama
Once 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 searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from 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. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the job 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 different functions that they accomplish in the Huntsville AL healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being governed by each state, the medical facilities or other Huntsville AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Huntsville AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum 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
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Huntsville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family 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 busy 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 online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Huntsville AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Huntsville AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Huntsville 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 programs you are looking at 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Huntsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Huntsville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Huntsville Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Huntsville AL.