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How to Choose the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing School near Mountain Brook Alabama

Mountain Brook Alabama LVN with elderly woman patientOnce you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Mountain Brook AL that will provide the right instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. While 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 training program that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.

What is an LPN or LVN?

Mountain Brook Alabama LPN greeting man with crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they complete in the Mountain Brook AL health facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical treatment is their domain. 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 job functions might include:

    • Checking vital signs
    • Giving medications
    • Initiating IV drips
    • Observing patients
    • Collecting blood or urine samples
    • Taking care of patient records
    • Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures

Along with their occupational responsibilities being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Mountain Brook AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees

There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Mountain Brook AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

LPN and LVN Programs Online

Mountain Brook Alabama LPN with older male assisted living residentEnrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Mountain Brook AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools

Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Mountain Brook AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
 
  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Mountain Brook 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Mountain Brook 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Mountain Brook AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Mountain Brook AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Mountain Brook LVN or LPN Schools

Pick the Right Mountain Brook Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program

Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you enroll in 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 develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Mountain Brook AL.



 

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