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How to Select the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Course near Centerville Iowa

Centerville Iowa LPN with older woman patientOnce you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Centerville IA that will furnish the proper education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example 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 prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.

What does an LPN or LVN Do?

Centerville Iowa LPN meeting patient with crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they carry out in the Centerville IA health facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Iowa. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical care is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine work functions can include:

    • Measuring vital signs
    • Giving medicines
    • Starting IV drips
    • Observing patients
    • Taking blood or urine samples
    • Keeping patient records
    • Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures

In addition to their occupational functions being governed by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Centerville IA healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees

There are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Centerville IA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

LPN and LVN Online Schools

Centerville Iowa LVN with older male nursing home patientEnrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Centerville IA. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs

Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Centerville IA as well as within Iowa and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Centerville IA.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs differ 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. Certain states require a specific 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 provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Centerville IA 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 considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Centerville IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Centerville IA community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Centerville LPN or LVN Nursing Classes

Choose the Right Centerville Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program

Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Centerville IA.



 

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