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How to Enroll In the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Hiawatha Iowa

Hiawatha Iowa LVN with senior female patientNow that you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Hiawatha IA that will provide the appropriate training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.

What is an LPN or LVN?

Hiawatha Iowa LPN meeting patient on crutches at door

Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they accomplish in the Hiawatha IA healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Iowa. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients in need of medical attention is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions may include:

    • Measuring vital signs
    • Giving medications
    • Setting up IV drips
    • Monitoring patients
    • Collecting blood or urine samples
    • Managing patient records
    • Helping physicians or RNs with procedures

In addition to their work responsibilities being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Hiawatha IA healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees

There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Hiawatha IA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative 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 finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should 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 most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

Online LPN and LVN Programs

Hiawatha Iowa LVN with older male nursing home residentEnrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Hiawatha IA. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active 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 online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Hiawatha IA as well as within Iowa and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
 
  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Hiawatha IA.
  • 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Hiawatha 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 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 superb reputation within the Hiawatha IA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Hiawatha IA community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Hiawatha LPN or LVN Courses

Pick the Best Hiawatha Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program

Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Hiawatha IA.



 

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