How to Pick the Right LPN or LVN Training Program Near Alabaster Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Alabaster AL that will provide 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 difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
The most basic definition for what LPNs do is that they provide routine care for the sick or injured. They work in conjunction with RNs to adhere to a care plan for each patient. RNs typically have a wider scope of practice than LPNs, such as interacting with doctors and administering medication through IVs. While an LPN’s scope of practice may be smaller than that of a registered nurse, there are still plenty of important nursing duties on their plates. LPN duties do vary somewhat by state and employer, but in general terms they provide hands-on patient care regardless of the location or employer. LPNs are responsible for a range of patient care and administrative tasks, which can include:
- Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
- Changing dressings or inserting catheters
- Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
- Assisting with tests or procedures
- Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
- Consulting with RNs on care plans
LPNs provide care in a variety of healthcare settings. More and more patients are seeking care in or near their homes, which has resulted in many LPN jobs moving away from the hospital environment and into more specialized settings. A few of the most common places LPNs work include Alabaster AL hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.
LPN CoursesA licensed practical nurse is required to complete an approved educational program that normally takes 1 year in order to obtain a diploma or certificate. Programs are available in community colleges and trade schools. Every program provides supervised clinical experience. After receiving a diploma or certificate, an LPN takes the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to get licensed to work. The exam is five hours long. It’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited, which ensures the high quality standard of the program However, the program must be officially recognized by the State Board of Nursing or you cannot register to take the NCLEX-PN exam and will be unable to get licensed. Though all nationally accredited schools will also be approved by their state, it’s possible for a school to be approved but not accredited. LPNs can also take advanced programs available through professional associations in specialized areas. According to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, LPNs can be trained in medication treatment, specialized procedures, or critical care interventions. By the way, working as an LPN can also pave the way to becoming a registered nurse (RN). Many schools offer what’s called a ‘bridge’ program. These programs take into account your LPN schooling and work experience and make it easier to transition to become an RN.
Taking LVN and LPN Courses Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Alabaster AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, 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 necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Alabaster Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Alabaster AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing 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 prerequisites for LPNs differ 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. Some states require a specified 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 an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet 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 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 contacts to help students obtain 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
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Alabaster Alabama.