How to Enroll In the Best LPN or LVN School Near Homewood Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Homewood AL that will furnish the appropriate education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the role 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 duties that they accomplish in the Homewood AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job duties being controlled by each state, the medical facilities or other Homewood AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN TrainingThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Homewood AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Courses Online
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Homewood AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that 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 pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Homewood Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Aside from helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Homewood Alabama.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Homewood 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 effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Homewood 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 requirements for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Some 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 excellent education, but also prepares 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 schools you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Homewood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help 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.
Pick the Right Homewood Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Homewood Alabama.