How to Pick the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training near Orange Beach Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Orange Beach AL that will provide the appropriate training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of tasks that they perform in the Orange Beach AL health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job functions may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work responsibilities being mandated by each state, the health facilities or other Orange Beach AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Orange Beach AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 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
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Orange Beach AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Orange Beach AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Orange Beach AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs differ 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 enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Orange Beach 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Orange Beach AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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 mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Orange Beach AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Orange Beach Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Orange Beach AL.