How to Find the Best LVN or LPN Course Near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Montgomery AL that will provide the necessary instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different tasks that they perform in the Montgomery AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily work activities can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Montgomery AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Montgomery AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Online Courses
Attending LPN schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Montgomery AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Montgomery Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Montgomery Alabama.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, 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 nearby Montgomery 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 get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Montgomery 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 prerequisites 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Montgomery AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain 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.
Choose the Right Montgomery Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Montgomery Alabama.