How to Select the Right LVN or LPN Program Near Alabaster Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Alabaster AL that will deliver the proper education. If you live 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 undertake the same job functions and work in health care 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 address in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are significant considerations, 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 very important also. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous tasks that they complete in the Alabaster AL health care facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical 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 encounter patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily job activities can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work duties being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Alabaster AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN or LVN near Alabaster AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Classes Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Alabaster AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Alabaster Al as well as within Alabama 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 site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Alabaster Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Alabaster AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain 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.
Pick the Right Alabaster Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Alabaster Alabama.