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How to Choose the Right LPN or LVN Training Near Gadsden Alabama

Gadsden Alabama LPN checking patient chart with doctorOnce you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Gadsden AL that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live 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 carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. While cost and location are relevant 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 extremely important too. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's take a 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

Gadsden Alabama LPN checking on elderly woman in nursing home

The most basic definition for what LPNs do is that they provide routine care for the sick or injured. They work in conjunction with RNs to adhere to a care plan for each patient. RNs typically have a wider scope of practice than LPNs, such as interacting with doctors and administering medication through IVs.  While an LPN’s scope of practice may be smaller than that of a registered nurse, there are still plenty of important nursing duties on their plates. LPN duties do vary somewhat by state and employer, but in general terms they provide hands-on patient care regardless of the location or employer. LPNs are responsible for a range of patient care and administrative tasks, which can include:

  • Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
  • Changing dressings or inserting catheters
  • Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
  • Assisting with tests or procedures
  • Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
  • Consulting with RNs on care plans

LPNs provide care in a variety of healthcare settings. More and more patients are seeking care in or near their homes, which has resulted in many LPN jobs moving away from the hospital environment and into more specialized settings. A few of the most common places LPNs work include Gadsden AL hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.

LVN and LPN Programs

A licensed practical nurse is required to complete an approved educational program that normally takes 1 year in order to obtain a diploma or certificate. Programs are available in community colleges and trade schools. Every program provides supervised clinical experience. After receiving a diploma or certificate, an LPN takes the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to get licensed to work. The exam is five hours long. It’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited, which ensures the high quality standard of the program However, the program must be officially recognized by the State Board of Nursing or you cannot register to take the NCLEX-PN exam and will be unable to get licensed. Though all nationally accredited schools will also be approved by their state, it’s possible for a school to be approved but not accredited. LPNs can also take advanced programs available through professional associations in specialized areas. According to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, LPNs can be trained in medication treatment, specialized procedures, or critical care interventions. By the way, working as an LPN can also pave the way to becoming a registered nurse (RN). Many schools offer what’s called a ‘bridge’ program. These programs take into account your LPN schooling and work experience and make it easier to transition to become an RN.

Enrolling in LPN and LVN Classes Online

Gadsden Alabama LPN greeting patient with crutches at doorEnrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Gadsden AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training 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 on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Gadsden Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial 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 choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Gadsden Alabama.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Gadsden 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 most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Gadsden 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 required 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 enrolled in not only delivers an excellent 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • 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 LVN or LPN in Gadsden

Pick the Best Gadsden Licensed Practical Nurse School

Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Gadsden Alabama.



 

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