How to Pick the Right LPN or LVN Training Program Near Northport Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Northport AL that will deliver the right education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking 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 healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their homes 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 factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Start Your LPN or LVN Career Below
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
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.
LPN and LVN TrainingIf 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 Classes Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Northport AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Northport Alabama.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Northport 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 best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 prerequisites for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an approved school. Some states require a specific 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm 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 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 Best Northport Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Northport Alabama.