How to Choose the Right LPN or LVN Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Fairbanks AK that will furnish 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 difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of duties that they carry out in the Fairbanks AK health care facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance 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 in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Fairbanks AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Fairbanks AK. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other 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 schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions 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 utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Fairbanks AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Fairbanks 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Fairbanks AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Fairbanks Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Fairbanks AK.