How to Enroll In the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Palmer Alaska
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Palmer AK that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart 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 vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. 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 to start with, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous tasks that they accomplish in the Palmer AK health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. While they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients in need of medical care is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job duties being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Palmer AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Palmer AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 guarantees 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 emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Palmer AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Palmer AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Palmer AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Many 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 programs 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 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 Palmer AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Palmer AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Palmer Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Palmer AK.