How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN Classes near Sheffield Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Sheffield AL that will provide the proper education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties 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 potential nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different functions that they perform in the Sheffield AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily work functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Sheffield AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN CoursesThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Sheffield AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum 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 becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Sheffield AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. 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. So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient 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 online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Sheffield AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things 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 see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Sheffield AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Sheffield 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Sheffield AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Sheffield AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Sheffield Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Sheffield AL.