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How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN School near Decorah Iowa

Decorah Iowa LVN with senior female patientOnce you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Decorah IA 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 distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care 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 address in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. While price and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications 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 also. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.

What is an LPN or LVN?

Decorah Iowa LPN meeting man on crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have many different functions that they complete in the Decorah IA healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Iowa. While they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily job functions can include:

    • Measuring vital signs
    • Giving medicines
    • Starting IV drips
    • Overseeing patients
    • Taking blood or urine samples
    • Keeping patient records
    • Helping doctors or RNs with procedures

Along with their occupational responsibilities being regulated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Decorah IA healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees

There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Decorah IA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

Online LPN and LVN Programs

Decorah Iowa LVN with older male nursing home patientAttending LPN schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Decorah IA. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools

Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Decorah IA as well as within Iowa and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
 
  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Decorah IA.
  • 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Iowa 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Decorah IA 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Decorah IA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Decorah IA community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Decorah LVN or LPN Nursing Courses

Choose the Best Decorah Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program

Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Decorah IA.



 

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