How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN Course Near Athens Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Athens AL that will furnish the appropriate instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While tuition and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's look at the function 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 numerous tasks that they perform in the Athens AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, 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. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being mandated by each state, the health facilities or other Athens 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 example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Athens AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LVN and LPN Courses Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Athens AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions 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 guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Athens Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Athens Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. 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 speak with some nearby Athens 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 acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Athens AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning 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 differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare 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 Best Athens Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Athens Alabama.