How to Select the Right LPN or LVN College near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Muscle Shoals AL that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are significant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course 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 training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they complete in the Muscle Shoals AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, 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 oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work duties being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Muscle Shoals AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Muscle Shoals AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second 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, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should 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 Schools Online
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Muscle Shoals AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Muscle Shoals AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Muscle Shoals AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Muscle Shoals 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 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 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 superb reputation within the Muscle Shoals AL healthcare 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Muscle Shoals AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Muscle Shoals Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Muscle Shoals AL.