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How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN College near Palmer Alaska

Palmer Alaska LVN with elderly female patientNow that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Palmer AK that will provide the right education. 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 carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their residences 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 decision on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.

What does an LPN or LVN Do?

Palmer Alaska LPN meeting man on crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of tasks that they carry out in the Palmer AK medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Although they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities may include:

    • Checking vital signs
    • Administering medicines
    • Setting up IV drips
    • Monitoring patients
    • Taking blood or urine samples
    • Managing patient records
    • Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures

Along with their work responsibilities being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Palmer AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Courses

There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Palmer AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, 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 option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to 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 type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

LPN and LVN Programs Online

Palmer Alaska LPN with elderly male nursing home residentAttending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Palmer 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 completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions 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 on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Palmer AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Palmer AK.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services 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, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Palmer 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Palmer AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Palmer AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Palmer LPN or LVN Programs

Choose the Right Palmer Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training

Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Palmer AK.



 

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