How to Choose the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Theodore Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Theodore AL that will furnish the right instruction. If you reside 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 perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Even though price and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example 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 discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous functions that they accomplish in the Theodore AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, 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 usually work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical assistance 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 everyday job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their job duties being controlled by each state, the medical facilities or other Theodore AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Theodore AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 effectively 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 growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Theodore AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly 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 numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active 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 utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Theodore AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points 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 see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Theodore 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Theodore 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Theodore AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Theodore AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Theodore Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, 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 short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Theodore AL.