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How to Select the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Program near Nikiski Alaska

Nikiski Alaska LVN with elderly female patientOnce you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Nikiski AK that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.

What does an LPN or LVN Do?

Nikiski Alaska LVN meeting man on crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they accomplish in the Nikiski 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 responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical care is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job functions may include:

    • Checking vital signs
    • Giving medications
    • Starting IV drips
    • Monitoring patients
    • Getting blood or urine samples
    • Keeping patient records
    • Helping doctors or RNs with procedures

Along with their work responsibilities being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Nikiski AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LPN Training

There are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Nikiski AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying 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 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 attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

LPN and LVN Online Programs

Nikiski Alaska LPN with elderly male assisted living residentAttending LPN programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Nikiski AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs

Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Nikiski AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
 
  • 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Nikiski AK.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending 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 working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 Nikiski 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Nikiski AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Nikiski AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Nikiski LPN or LVN Nursing Courses

Choose the Right Nikiski Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training

Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate 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 Nikiski AK.



 

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