How to Find the Best LPN or LVN Training near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Anchorage AK 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 perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are significant 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 as well. There are additional 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 instruction and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they perform in the Anchorage AK health care facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients requiring medical care is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine work activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work duties being mandated by each state, the medical 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.
LPN and LVN CoursesThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Anchorage AK. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Anchorage AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific 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 accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Anchorage AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find 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 opinions 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local 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 Program
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Anchorage AK.