How to Find the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Gateway Alaska
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Gateway AK that will deliver the right education. 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 health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover 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 does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they accomplish in the Gateway AK medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though 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, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day job functions can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job duties being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Gateway AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Gateway AK. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive 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 syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Attending LPN schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Gateway AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Gateway AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Gateway AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Gateway AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Gateway AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Gateway AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Gateway Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Gateway AK.