How to Choose the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Mountain Brook Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Mountain Brook AL that will furnish the proper education. If you live 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 perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But 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 future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though 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 extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they perform in the Mountain Brook AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work activities might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational responsibilities being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Mountain Brook AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, for instance 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 Mountain Brook AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively 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 Schools
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Mountain Brook AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount 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 convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active 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 utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Mountain Brook AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Mountain Brook AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs are different 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. 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 contact some nearby Mountain Brook 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mountain Brook AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with local Mountain Brook AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Mountain Brook Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you select an LPN school 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 produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Mountain Brook AL.