How to Find the Best LVN or LPN School Near Fairhope Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Fairhope AL that will furnish the proper 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, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address 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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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform a number of basic nursing tasks. They work under doctors and registered nurses (RNs) in Fairhope 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.
LPN ProgramsIf you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you must first complete one year of coursework to earn a certificate or a diploma in an accredited LPN/LVN program. Most states have dozens of accredited colleges, technical schools, and hospitals that offer LPN/LVN programs. The first consideration you must make when becoming an LPN is which school you will attend. This can be a difficult choice. When choosing a school, choose one which is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. One well-known accrediting agency is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. After satisfying the LPN program coursework and grade requirements laid out by your state’s Board of Nursing, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN, or the National Council Licensure Examination. This exam is mandatory for all LPN/LVN's in the U.S. and can be scheduled through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Courses Online
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Fairhope AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Fairhope Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairhope Alabama.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Fairhope 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 get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Fairhope AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help 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 criteria for LPNs are different 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Fairhope AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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.
Pick the Right Fairhope Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Fairhope Alabama.