How to Pick the Best LVN or LPN School Near Alabaster Alabama
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 Alabaster AL that will deliver the appropriate 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, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications 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 very important too. There are additional 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 have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they complete in the Alabaster AL health care facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being regulated by each state, the health care facilities or other Alabaster AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in different specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN CoursesThere are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Alabaster AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain 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, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide 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 ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Classes Online
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Alabaster AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Alabaster Al as well as within Alabama 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 manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Alabaster Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Alabaster AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Alabaster AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships. Also, it's important that you choose a school that offers clinical training in the type of facility you are most interested in. For example, if you want training and experience in pediatric care, make sure that the school you choose provides adequate clinical rotation in an area Pediatric Hospital.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs are different 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 approved school. Many 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 attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- NCLEX Exam Pass Rate. Once you receive your certificate or diploma, you must sign up for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Enrolling in a school with at least a 75% pass rate is highly preferred. Lower pass rates may indicate that a school’s program, curriculum or instructors are ineffective in teaching its students. You can find out from the school what their passing rate is for the last 5 years, or request the information from the State Board of Nursing.
Choose the Right Alabaster Licensed Vocational Nurse Program
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Alabaster Alabama.