How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN Course Near Alabaster Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Alabaster AL that will furnish the proper instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, except for 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 fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they accomplish in the Alabaster AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction 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. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job functions being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Alabaster AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Alabaster AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Classes
Enrolling in LPN schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Alabaster AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What 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 web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Alabaster Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Alabaster Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Alabaster AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many 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 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- 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 Vocational Nurse Program
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Alabaster Alabama.