How to Find the Right LPN or LVN College Near Opelika Alabama
Once you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Opelika AL that will deliver the right education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than 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 duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of duties that they complete in the Opelika AL health care facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical attention is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day job activities might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being controlled by each state, the health care facilities or other Opelika AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN ProgramsThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Opelika AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Enrolling in LPN and LVN Online Classes
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Opelika Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Opelika Alabama.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Opelika 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 best way to obtain 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 mandates for licensing also. Ask 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 criteria for LPNs differ 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Opelika AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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 Right Opelika Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Opelika Alabama.