How to Choose the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Classes near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Pell City AL that will furnish the right education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from 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 responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications 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 extremely important also. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they complete in the Pell City AL health care facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally 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 find patients seeking medical care is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Pell City AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Pell City AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Pell City AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Pell City AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Pell City AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Pell City 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 schools 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Pell City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Pell City AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Pell City Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Pell City AL.