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How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN Program Near Northport Alabama

Northport Alabama LPN looking over patient chart with physicianNow that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Northport AL that will deliver the proper education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are relevant points to consider, 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 too. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But first, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.

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LPN and LVN Job Description

Northport Alabama LPN visiting with female senior in nursing home

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform a number of basic nursing tasks. They work under doctors and registered nurses (RNs) in Northport 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.

LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees

If 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. 

Enrolling in LVN and LPN Online Classes

Northport Alabama LPN assisting patient with crutches at doorAttending LPN schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Northport AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things 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 web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Northport Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors 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 see how your pick 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 verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Northport Alabama.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Northport AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Northport 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 criteria for LPNs vary 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. Certain states require a certain 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 provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Northport 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.

Find Out How to Become an LVN or LPN in Northport

Pick the Best Northport Licensed Practical Nurse School

Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Northport Alabama.



 

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