How to Enroll In the Best LPN or LVN Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Tuscaloosa AL that will provide the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching 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 healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While price and location are relevant points to consider, 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 extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different tasks that they complete in the Tuscaloosa AL health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients requiring medical care is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being regulated by each state, the health care facilities or other Tuscaloosa AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Tuscaloosa AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, 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 warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Attending LPN programs online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Tuscaloosa AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things 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 internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Tuscaloosa AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Tuscaloosa AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local 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 programs you are considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Tuscaloosa AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Tuscaloosa Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Tuscaloosa AL.