How to Find the Right LVN or LPN School Near Dothan Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Dothan AL that will provide 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 difference, aside 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. But their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. While price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria 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 very important also. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's 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
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they accomplish in the Dothan AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, 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 guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical care is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Dothan AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN or LVN near Dothan AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide 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 guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Enrolling in LPN and LVN Classes Online
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What 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 choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Dothan Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Dothan Alabama.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Dothan 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Dothan AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 criteria for LPNs vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Dothan AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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 Best Dothan Licensed Vocational Nurse Program
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Dothan Alabama.