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How to Enroll In the Best LVN or LPN College Near Opelika Alabama

Opelika Alabama LPN reviewing patient chart with physicianNow that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Opelika AL that will provide the right training. If you live 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 carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are relevant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.

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What does an LPN or LVN Do?

Opelika Alabama LPN visiting with female senior in nursing home

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are an important part of the healthcare team, supporting doctors and nurses in caring for patients of all ages. LPNs work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care. An LPN’s duties can vary slightly depending on the healthcare setting and the state in which they work. For example, some states do not permit LPNs to administer medication or start IV drips. In other states, experienced LPNs are able to supervise and manage less-experienced nurses or nursing aides.  Some of the typical duties of an LPN might include:

  • Monitoring patients
  • Taking patient vital signs and histories
  • Performing routine assessments, such as checking blood pressure
  • Changing bandages
  • Inserting IVs or catheters
  • Listening to patients’ concerns and reporting back to RNs and doctors
  • Ensuring patients are comfortable
  • Helping patients bathe or dress

LPNs can also work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including Opelika AL hospitals, doctor's offices and urgent care clinics. Due to an aging population, there is a growing need for LPNs in long-term care, such as rehabilitation centers, residential treatment centers and hospice. Most LPNs work in nursing and residential care facilities.

LVN and LPN Courses

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. 

Taking LVN and LPN Online Classes

Opelika Alabama licensed practical nurse assisting man on crutches at entranceEnrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools

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 checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Opelika Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Opelika Alabama.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Opelika 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 setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement 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) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain 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.

More Info on How to Become an LPN or LVN in Opelika

Pick the Best Opelika Licensed Practical Nurse School

Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Opelika Alabama.



 

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