How to Select the Right LPN or LVN Program near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Pleasant Grove AL that will deliver the proper instruction. 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 undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they complete in the Pleasant Grove AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work activities might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job functions being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Pleasant Grove AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN CoursesThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Pleasant Grove AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 Schools
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Pleasant Grove AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 job and household commitments have left you with 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 busy schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Pleasant Grove AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors 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 other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Pleasant Grove AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 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 Pleasant Grove 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Pleasant Grove AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Pleasant Grove AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Pleasant Grove Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Pleasant Grove AL.