How to Select the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Vestavia Hills AL that will provide the proper education. If you live 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 healthcare facilities under the guidance 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 next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Although price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of functions that they perform in the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical care is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job duties being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Vestavia Hills AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Vestavia Hills AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other 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 complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study 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
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Vestavia Hills AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed 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 school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Vestavia Hills AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary 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 price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Vestavia Hills AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Vestavia Hills 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Vestavia Hills AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Vestavia Hills Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Vestavia Hills AL.