How to Select the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Robertsdale Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Robertsdale AL that will provide 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 undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job 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 Robertsdale AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are mandated 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 medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine work activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Robertsdale AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Robertsdale AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Schools
Attending LPN schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Robertsdale AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary 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. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things 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 begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Robertsdale AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Robertsdale AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Robertsdale 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Robertsdale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Robertsdale AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Robertsdale Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final 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 Robertsdale AL.