How to Find the Right LPN or LVN Training Near Athens Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Athens AL that will provide 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 difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision 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 program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
A licensed practical nurse cares for the basic medical needs of a patient by monitoring their blood pressure and other vital signs and providing the person with the necessities of basic comforts like bathing or other needs. LPNs work in a variety of health care systems. Settings can range from Athens AL clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, extended care facilities, clinics, and even private practices. Depending on each state’s regulations, LPNs may be involved in medical care such as inserting catheters, intravenous drips (IVs), assisting to deliver babies, or giving approved medication. They would be responsible for keeping accurate records of a patient such as their history, diagnosis, progress, and any new medical problem that may occur and inform the doctor or registered nurse. He or she is overseen by a doctor or registered nurse. Many facilities require work hours to exceed the normal 8-hour shifts. Therefore, according to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, it’s necessary to have physical strength and stamina due to the direct care to patients you will provide. An LPN should be compassionate, patient in difficult situations, and have interpersonal skills. They should have the ability to communicate clearly and be an attentive listener.
LPN CoursesAfter deciding on the type of program to pursue, students need to find one approved by their state. Each state establishes its own educational requirements for LPNs and approves the schools offering credentials. Most yearlong programs are offered by junior colleges, hospitals, community colleges or technical schools, and provide the opportunity for supervised practical nursing clinical experience. In some cases applicants can get a head start by completing prerequisites in mathematics, chemistry, biology, English and psychology prior to enrolling; however, these are not always required so students should check their program’s requirements first. Admission varies by state, although applicants need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in a nursing certificate or diploma program. Additionally, some schools may require applicants to pass an entrance exam prior to acceptance to an LPN certificate program. Upon completion of an approved LPN/LVN diploma or certificate program, graduates sign up to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). All states and the District of Columbia mandate the NCLEX-PN competency exam as a core requirement to be employed as an LPN.
Attending LVN and LPN Online Classes
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Athens AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things 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 guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Athens Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Athens Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch 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 judgements are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out 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 prerequisites for LPNs vary 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain 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 Best Athens Licensed Practical Nurse School
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick 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.