How to Enroll In the Best LPN or LVN School Near Madison Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Madison AL that will provide the necessary education. 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 health care 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 look at in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example 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 prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address 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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LPN and LVN Job Description
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 Madison AL hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.
LPN and LVN TrainingA 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.
Taking LPN and LVN Courses Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Madison AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What 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 online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Madison Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Madison Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Madison 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 acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Madison 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 are different 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. 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps 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 superb reputation within the Madison AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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.
Choose the Right Madison Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Madison Alabama.