How to Enroll In the Best LPN or LVN Training Program Near Decatur Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Decatur AL that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for instance 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 potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will talk about 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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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform a number of basic nursing tasks. They work under doctors and registered nurses (RNs) in Decatur AL medical offices, hospitals, and health care facilities. They also might provide in-home care. LPNs carry out nursing tasks that are more complex than those that completed by nurse's aides but less complex than the duties of an RN. LPNs monitor the health of patients and look for signs that their health is deteriorating or improving. They check vital signs and watch for changes in monitor readings. Licensed Practical Nurses perform basic nursing functions like changing bandages and wound dressings. They comfort patients and make sure basic needs such as food and fluid intake are in order. Licensed practical nurses may also administer medications in some settings depending on institutional and state standards. LPNs work in a variety of health care environments as part of a team that includes doctors, registered nurses, and others. They serve in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health clinics, and private physician practices. Some also provide health care services at peoples’ homes. Nurses have to be able to stand on their feet for most of the day. They may need to help lift or move patients as well.
LVN and LPN ProgramsSelecting the right LPN program is an important first step. Programs lead to a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree. Coursework for certificate, diploma, and degree programs can be completed online or in person. Hybrid programs allow aspiring LPNs to complete required courses in a virtual setting, while clinical hours must be fulfilled in person at an approved local site. Regardless of academic setting or type of program, LPNs in training cover much of the same core coursework. Full-time students usually take 12-15 credits per semester, learning necessary skills and knowledge by studying theories, completing lab assignments, and spending time in clinical settings. After completing LPN education requirements and earning their credential, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) before they can be licensed and hired to practice as an LPN.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Classes Online
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Decatur AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number 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 accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Decatur Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Decatur Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Decatur 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 obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 Decatur AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help 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 prerequisites for LPNs are different 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 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Decatur 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 Decatur Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick an LPN college 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 create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Decatur Alabama.