How to Select the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Program near Pelham Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Pelham AL that will deliver the proper training. If you reside 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 carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following section. 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. Although tuition 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 extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they perform in the Pelham AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational responsibilities being regulated by each state, the health care facilities or other Pelham 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 CoursesThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Pelham AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some 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.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Pelham AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount 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 classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things 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 internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Pelham AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Pelham AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs are different 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. Certain states require a specified 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Pelham AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Pelham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best 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 mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Pelham AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Pelham Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 final 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 Pelham AL.