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How to Pick the Right LPN or LVN Course near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert Arizona LPN with senior female patientOnce you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Gilbert AZ that will deliver the proper education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate 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 start with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.

What is an LPN or LVN?

Gilbert Arizona LVN meeting man on crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they perform in the Gilbert AZ medical facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision 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. Anywhere that you can encounter patients in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities may include:

    • Measuring vital signs
    • Administering medications
    • Starting IV drips
    • Observing patients
    • Getting blood or urine samples
    • Taking care of patient records
    • Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures

Along with their work duties being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Gilbert AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LPN and LVN Courses

There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Gilbert AZ. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, 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 warrants that the syllabus 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 Online Schools

Gilbert Arizona LVN with older male nursing home patientAttending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Gilbert AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier 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 internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Gilbert AZ as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Gilbert AZ.
  • 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Gilbert AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Gilbert AZ community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Gilbert LPN or LVN Classes

Choose the Best Gilbert Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training

Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 Gilbert AZ.



 

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