How to Select the Right LPN or LVN Course near Ketchikan Alaska
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Ketchikan AK that will deliver the proper instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While price and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example 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 training program that we will address 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 a number of functions that they perform in the Ketchikan AK health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical attention is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational responsibilities being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Ketchikan AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN CoursesThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Ketchikan AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 course of study adequately 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 schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Ketchikan AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN 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 options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Ketchikan AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Ketchikan AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ 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. 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 enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Ketchikan 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 schools you are looking at 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Ketchikan AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Ketchikan AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Ketchikan Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Ketchikan AK.