How to Pick the Right LVN or LPN Course Near Bessemer Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Bessemer AL that will deliver the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, 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 address in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although price and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous tasks that they accomplish in the Bessemer AL health facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical care is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work activities might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job functions being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Bessemer AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Bessemer AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Online Classes
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Bessemer AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
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 utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Bessemer Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Bessemer Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Bessemer 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 obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Bessemer 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 criteria for LPNs differ 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional 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 considering 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Bessemer AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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 Best Bessemer Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. 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 medical community. By using our list 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Bessemer Alabama.