How to Pick the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Northport Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Northport AL that will provide the appropriate training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as 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 prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program 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 training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of tasks that they perform in the Northport AL healthcare facilities where they work. 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 supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical care is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine work activities can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work functions being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Northport AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Northport AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Northport AL. Many schools will require attending 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 can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things 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 checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Northport AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Northport AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary 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 specified 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 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 internet rating services 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 find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 schools 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 superb reputation within the Northport AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Northport AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Northport Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Northport AL.