How to Find the Best LVN or LPN Course Near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Huntsville AL that will furnish the necessary education. 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 perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. While price and location are relevant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have 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 a number of functions that they perform in the Huntsville AL health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily work functions can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job duties being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Huntsville AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Huntsville AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering 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 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.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Courses Online
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Huntsville AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Huntsville Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Huntsville Alabama.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Huntsville 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 get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Huntsville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement 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 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- 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 complete 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 favorable reputation within the Huntsville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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.
Pick the Best Huntsville Licensed Practical Nurse School
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Huntsville Alabama.