How to Select the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Classes near Picture Rocks Arizona
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Picture Rocks AZ that will provide 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, apart 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 responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very 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 talk about later in this article. But first, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they carry out in the Picture Rocks AZ healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job duties being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Picture Rocks AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN ProgramsThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Picture Rocks AZ. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively 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
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Picture Rocks AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Picture Rocks AZ as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost 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 only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Picture Rocks AZ.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Picture Rocks AZ 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Picture Rocks AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with local Picture Rocks AZ community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Picture Rocks Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose an LPN school 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 produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Picture Rocks AZ.