How to Find the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Program near Trussville Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Trussville AL that will deliver the right instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ 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 start with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. 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 first, let's look at the role 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 different duties that they carry out in the Trussville AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Trussville AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Trussville AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Trussville AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training 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, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Trussville AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Trussville AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Trussville 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Trussville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain 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 mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Trussville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Trussville Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Trussville AL.