How to Enroll In the Best LVN or LPN Program Near Helena Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Helena AL that will deliver the right instruction. If you reside 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 carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. 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. Even though cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different functions that they perform in the Helena AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients seeking medical attention 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 everyday work functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Helena AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Helena AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Classes
Attending LPN schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Helena AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions 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 on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Helena Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Helena Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 call some local Helena 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Helena AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help 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 criteria for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Some states require a certain 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 prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools you are considering 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 displeased 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 Helena AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain 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 Helena Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Helena Alabama.