How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN Classes Near Anniston Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Anniston AL that will deliver the right instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from 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. But their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though price and location are significant considerations, 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 too. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have 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 (LPNs) are an important part of the healthcare team, supporting doctors and nurses in caring for patients of all ages. LPNs work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care. An LPN’s duties can vary slightly depending on the healthcare setting and the state in which they work. For example, some states do not permit LPNs to administer medication or start IV drips. In other states, experienced LPNs are able to supervise and manage less-experienced nurses or nursing aides. Some of the typical duties of an LPN might include:
- Monitoring patients
- Taking patient vital signs and histories
- Performing routine assessments, such as checking blood pressure
- Changing bandages
- Inserting IVs or catheters
- Listening to patients’ concerns and reporting back to RNs and doctors
- Ensuring patients are comfortable
- Helping patients bathe or dress
LPNs can also work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including Anniston AL hospitals, doctor's offices and urgent care clinics. Due to an aging population, there is a growing need for LPNs in long-term care, such as rehabilitation centers, residential treatment centers and hospice. Most LPNs work in nursing and residential care facilities.
LPN and LVN TrainingIf you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you must first complete one year of coursework to earn a certificate or a diploma in an accredited LPN/LVN program. Most states have dozens of accredited colleges, technical schools, and hospitals that offer LPN/LVN programs. The first consideration you must make when becoming an LPN is which school you will attend. This can be a difficult choice. When choosing a school, choose one which is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. One well-known accrediting agency is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. After satisfying the LPN program coursework and grade requirements laid out by your state’s Board of Nursing, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN, or the National Council Licensure Examination. This exam is mandatory for all LPN/LVN's in the U.S. and can be scheduled through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Attending LVN and LPN Online Classes
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Anniston AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What 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 internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Anniston Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Anniston Alabama.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 contact some local Anniston 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 most ideal 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. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anniston 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 requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Anniston AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help 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.
Choose the Right Anniston Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Anniston Alabama.