How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN Course near Jacksonville Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Jacksonville AL that will provide the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking 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 medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are various other 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 first, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they carry out in the Jacksonville AL health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their work functions being governed by each state, the medical facilities or other Jacksonville AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Jacksonville AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Jacksonville AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce 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 begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Jacksonville AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Jacksonville AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs are different 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Jacksonville 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 considering 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Jacksonville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Jacksonville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Jacksonville Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Jacksonville AL.