How to Find the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training near Sterling Alaska
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Sterling AK that will furnish the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from 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. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they complete in the Sterling AK health care facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical 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 treatment is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work responsibilities being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Sterling AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Sterling AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Sterling AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active 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 online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Sterling AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Sterling AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Sterling 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Sterling AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Sterling AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Sterling Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Sterling AK.