How to Find the Best LPN or LVN Course Near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Montgomery AL that will provide the necessary training. 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 functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications 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 extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
A licensed practical nurse cares for the basic medical needs of a patient by monitoring their blood pressure and other vital signs and providing the person with the necessities of basic comforts like bathing or other needs. LPNs work in a variety of health care systems. Settings can range from Montgomery AL clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, extended care facilities, clinics, and even private practices. Depending on each state’s regulations, LPNs may be involved in medical care such as inserting catheters, intravenous drips (IVs), assisting to deliver babies, or giving approved medication. They would be responsible for keeping accurate records of a patient such as their history, diagnosis, progress, and any new medical problem that may occur and inform the doctor or registered nurse. He or she is overseen by a doctor or registered nurse. Many facilities require work hours to exceed the normal 8-hour shifts. Therefore, according to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, it’s necessary to have physical strength and stamina due to the direct care to patients you will provide. An LPN should be compassionate, patient in difficult situations, and have interpersonal skills. They should have the ability to communicate clearly and be an attentive listener.
LPN 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.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Online Classes
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Montgomery AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
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 guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Montgomery Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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 also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local 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 obtain 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 requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby 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 requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare 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 Best Montgomery Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, 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 health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Montgomery Alabama.