How to Choose the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Program near Anchorage Alaska
Once you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Anchorage AK that will deliver the necessary training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are important 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 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 have a 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 many different duties that they accomplish in the Anchorage AK healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Although they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily job activities might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job responsibilities being governed by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Anchorage AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Anchorage AK. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 attests that the syllabus 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 programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Anchorage AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Anchorage AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs differ 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 specific 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Anchorage AK 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Anchorage AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Anchorage Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate 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 Anchorage AK.