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How to Find the Right LPN or LVN Training Near Decatur Alabama

Decatur Alabama licensed practical nurse reviewing patient file with doctorOnce you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Decatur AL that will provide the appropriate training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from 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 responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. While price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.

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LPN and LVN Job Description

Decatur Alabama LPN visiting with elderly woman in assisted living facility

Licensed Practical Nurses have many different tasks that they perform in the Decatur AL health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday work functions may include:

    • Taking vital signs
    • Administering medicines
    • Starting IV drips
    • Overseeing patients
    • Collecting blood or urine samples
    • Maintaining patient records
    • Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures

Along with their work duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Decatur AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Courses

There are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Decatur AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

Taking LVN and LPN Online Classes

Decatur Alabama LPN assisting patient with crutches at entranceAttending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Schools

Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Decatur Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Decatur Alabama.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Decatur 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 best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement 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) along with graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain 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.

Learn How to Become an LPN or LVN in Decatur

Pick the Best Decatur Licensed Vocational Nurse Program

Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Decatur Alabama.



 

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