How to Enroll In the Best Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Program near Hiawatha Iowa
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Hiawatha IA that will furnish the necessary 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, other than 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 duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss 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 training and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they accomplish in the Hiawatha IA health facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Iowa. Even though they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients in need of medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work functions being regulated 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 numerous specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN CoursesThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Hiawatha IA. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 attests that the core curriculum 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
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Hiawatha IA. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN SchoolsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Hiawatha IA as well as within Iowa and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Hiawatha IA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Iowa school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Hiawatha 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Hiawatha IA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Hiawatha IA community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Hiawatha Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Hiawatha IA.