How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN Course near Southside Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Southside AL that will furnish the appropriate training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they perform in the Southside AL health facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work duties being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Southside AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Southside AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain 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, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Schools
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Southside AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly 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 many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What 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 web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Southside AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Southside AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps 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 each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Southside 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 schools you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Southside AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Southside AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Southside Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Southside AL.