How to Pick the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Madison Alabama
Once you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Madison AL that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from 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 functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are even more 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 take a look at the function 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 functions that they carry out in the Madison AL health facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical care is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work functions being regulated by each state, the medical facilities or other Madison AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Madison AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Schools Online
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Madison AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Madison AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Madison AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Madison 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Madison AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Madison AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Madison Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed 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 excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Madison AL.