How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN Course Near Florence Alabama
Once you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Florence AL that will provide 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 distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of tasks that they complete in the Florence AL medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical care is their dominion. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work functions being regulated by each state, the medical facilities or other Florence AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance 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 Florence AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LVN and LPN Online Classes
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Florence 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 center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household commitments 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 begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Florence Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Florence Alabama.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Florence AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with local Florence AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help 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 prerequisites 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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.
Choose the Best Florence Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final 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 Florence Alabama.