How to Enroll In the Best LVN or LPN Classes Near Millbrook Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Millbrook AL that will provide 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, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. While price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are an important part of the healthcare team, supporting doctors and nurses in caring for patients of all ages. LPNs work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care. An LPN’s duties can vary slightly depending on the healthcare setting and the state in which they work. For example, some states do not permit LPNs to administer medication or start IV drips. In other states, experienced LPNs are able to supervise and manage less-experienced nurses or nursing aides. Some of the typical duties of an LPN might include:
- Monitoring patients
- Taking patient vital signs and histories
- Performing routine assessments, such as checking blood pressure
- Changing bandages
- Inserting IVs or catheters
- Listening to patients’ concerns and reporting back to RNs and doctors
- Ensuring patients are comfortable
- Helping patients bathe or dress
LPNs can also work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including Millbrook AL hospitals, doctor's offices and urgent care clinics. Due to an aging population, there is a growing need for LPNs in long-term care, such as rehabilitation centers, residential treatment centers and hospice. Most LPNs work in nursing and residential care facilities.
LPN CoursesSelecting the right LPN program is an important first step. Programs lead to a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree. Coursework for certificate, diploma, and degree programs can be completed online or in person. Hybrid programs allow aspiring LPNs to complete required courses in a virtual setting, while clinical hours must be fulfilled in person at an approved local site. Regardless of academic setting or type of program, LPNs in training cover much of the same core coursework. Full-time students usually take 12-15 credits per semester, learning necessary skills and knowledge by studying theories, completing lab assignments, and spending time in clinical settings. After completing LPN education requirements and earning their credential, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) before they can be licensed and hired to practice as an LPN.
Taking LVN and LPN Online Courses
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Millbrook AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Millbrook Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Millbrook Alabama.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Millbrook 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 most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Millbrook AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 criteria for LPNs are different 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Millbrook AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain 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 Millbrook Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Millbrook Alabama.