How to Find the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Smiths Station Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Smiths Station AL that will provide the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, except for 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 fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. While tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. 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 have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they complete in the Smiths Station AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day job activities might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their work duties being governed by each state, the health facilities or other Smiths Station AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Smiths Station AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 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
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Smiths Station AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier 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 on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Smiths Station AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Smiths Station AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Smiths Station 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Smiths Station AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Smiths Station AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Smiths Station Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Smiths Station AL.