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How to Select the Best LPN or LVN School near Northport Alabama

Northport Alabama LVN with elderly female patientOnce you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Northport AL that will deliver the appropriate education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision 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 section. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. While tuition and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.

What is an LPN or LVN?

Northport Alabama LVN meeting man with crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous functions that they carry out in the Northport AL health facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily job activities might include:

    • Taking vital signs
    • Giving medications
    • Setting up IV drips
    • Overseeing patients
    • Getting blood or urine samples
    • Managing patient records
    • Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures

In addition to their occupational responsibilities being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Northport AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LPN Training

There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Northport AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd 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, along with 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 kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

Online LPN and LVN Programs

Northport Alabama LPN with older male nursing home patientAttending LPN programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Northport AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools

Once 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 begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Northport AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the price 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
 
  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Northport 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Northport 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Northport AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Northport LPN or LVN Programs

Pick the Right Northport Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training

Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select an LPN college 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 short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate 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 Northport AL.



 

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