How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN College Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Mountain Brook AL that will provide the appropriate 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, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are various other 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 take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform a number of basic nursing tasks. They work under doctors and registered nurses (RNs) in Mountain Brook AL medical offices, hospitals, and health care facilities. They also might provide in-home care. LPNs carry out nursing tasks that are more complex than those that completed by nurse's aides but less complex than the duties of an RN. LPNs monitor the health of patients and look for signs that their health is deteriorating or improving. They check vital signs and watch for changes in monitor readings. Licensed Practical Nurses perform basic nursing functions like changing bandages and wound dressings. They comfort patients and make sure basic needs such as food and fluid intake are in order. Licensed practical nurses may also administer medications in some settings depending on institutional and state standards. LPNs work in a variety of health care environments as part of a team that includes doctors, registered nurses, and others. They serve in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health clinics, and private physician practices. Some also provide health care services at peoples’ homes. Nurses have to be able to stand on their feet for most of the day. They may need to help lift or move patients as well.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesIf you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you must first complete one year of coursework to earn a certificate or a diploma in an accredited LPN/LVN program. Most states have dozens of accredited colleges, technical schools, and hospitals that offer LPN/LVN programs. The first consideration you must make when becoming an LPN is which school you will attend. This can be a difficult choice. When choosing a school, choose one which is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. One well-known accrediting agency is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. After satisfying the LPN program coursework and grade requirements laid out by your state’s Board of Nursing, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN, or the National Council Licensure Examination. This exam is mandatory for all LPN/LVN's in the U.S. and can be scheduled through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Attending LVN and LPN Courses Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Mountain Brook AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding 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 affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things 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 utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Mountain Brook Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Mountain Brook Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Mountain Brook 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 most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Mountain Brook AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning 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 are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with 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 considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Mountain Brook AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain 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.
Pick the Right Mountain Brook Licensed Vocational Nurse Program
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Mountain Brook Alabama.