How to Pick the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Classes near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Tuscaloosa AL that will deliver the appropriate training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address 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 numerous duties that they complete in the Tuscaloosa AL health facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place 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 daily job functions may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Tuscaloosa AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Tuscaloosa AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsNow that 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 pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Tuscaloosa AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Tuscaloosa AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Tuscaloosa 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Tuscaloosa AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Tuscaloosa Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Tuscaloosa AL.