How to Find the Right LVN or LPN Program Near Helena Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Helena AL that will furnish the right 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, 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. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are relevant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are even more 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 first, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they carry out in the Helena AL medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical care is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work functions might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Helena AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN ProgramsThere are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN or LVN near Helena AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Courses
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Helena AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic 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 online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Helena Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Helena Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Helena 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 ideal way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Helena AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Helena AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain 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.
Choose the Best Helena Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Helena Alabama.