How to Select the Right LPN or LVN School near Kenai Alaska
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Kenai AK that will furnish 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 distinction, except for 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 duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. While 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 very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they carry out in the Kenai AK healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job duties being mandated by each state, the health facilities or other Kenai AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Kenai AK. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to obtain 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, besides 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 kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Schools Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Kenai AK. 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 conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and 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 probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Kenai AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized 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 often not offered for non-accredited schools near Kenai 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. Certain states require a specific 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 outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Kenai 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 schools 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 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 Kenai AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Kenai AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Kenai Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Kenai AK.