How to Find the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training near Spanish Fort Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Spanish Fort AL that will provide the proper 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, aside from 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. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask potential 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 instruction and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they perform in the Spanish Fort AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients seeking medical care is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily job activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their job duties being governed by each state, the medical facilities or other Spanish Fort AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Spanish Fort AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, 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 alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter 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 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 Programs
Enrolling in LPN schools online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Spanish Fort AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Spanish Fort AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Spanish Fort AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with 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 as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Spanish Fort 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 finish 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 good reputation within the Spanish Fort AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain 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 Spanish Fort AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Spanish Fort Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within 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 produce a short list of schools to select 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 an LPN or LVN in Spanish Fort AL.