How to Choose the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Muscle Shoals AL that will deliver the necessary instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they accomplish in the Muscle Shoals AL health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical 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 seeking medical attention 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 everyday work functions may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being governed by each state, the medical facilities or other Muscle Shoals AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN CoursesThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Muscle Shoals AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately 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 emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Muscle Shoals AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce 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 choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, 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 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 and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Muscle Shoals AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online 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 also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Muscle Shoals 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 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 displeased 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 Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Muscle Shoals AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Muscle Shoals Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Muscle Shoals AL.