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How to Pick the Right LVN or LPN Training Program Near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama LPN checking patient chart with physicianNow that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Phenix City AL that will deliver the proper instruction. If you reside 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. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are various other 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 first, let's have a 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

Phenix City Alabama LPN visiting with elderly woman in assisted living facility

The most basic definition for what LPNs do is that they provide routine care for the sick or injured. They work in conjunction with RNs to adhere to a care plan for each patient. RNs typically have a wider scope of practice than LPNs, such as interacting with doctors and administering medication through IVs.  While an LPN’s scope of practice may be smaller than that of a registered nurse, there are still plenty of important nursing duties on their plates. LPN duties do vary somewhat by state and employer, but in general terms they provide hands-on patient care regardless of the location or employer. LPNs are responsible for a range of patient care and administrative tasks, which can include:

  • Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
  • Changing dressings or inserting catheters
  • Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
  • Assisting with tests or procedures
  • Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
  • Consulting with RNs on care plans

LPNs provide care in a variety of healthcare settings. More and more patients are seeking care in or near their homes, which has resulted in many LPN jobs moving away from the hospital environment and into more specialized settings. A few of the most common places LPNs work include Phenix City AL hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.

LVN and LPN Training

After deciding on the type of program to pursue, students need to find one approved by their state. Each state establishes its own educational requirements for LPNs and approves the schools offering credentials. Most yearlong programs are offered by junior colleges, hospitals, community colleges or technical schools, and provide the opportunity for supervised practical nursing clinical experience. In some cases applicants can get a head start by completing prerequisites in mathematics, chemistry, biology, English and psychology prior to enrolling; however, these are not always required so students should check their program’s requirements first. Admission varies by state, although applicants need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in a nursing certificate or diploma program. Additionally, some schools may require applicants to pass an entrance exam prior to acceptance to an LPN certificate program. Upon completion of an approved LPN/LVN diploma or certificate program, graduates sign up to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). All states and the District of Columbia mandate the NCLEX-PN competency exam as a core requirement to be employed as an LPN.

Attending LVN and LPN Classes Online

Phenix City Alabama licensed practical nurse assisting man on crutches at doorAttending LPN programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Phenix City AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs

Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Phenix City Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Phenix City Alabama.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Phenix City 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 ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Phenix City 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Many 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 attending 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 complete 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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.

Learn How to Become an LVN or LPN in Phenix City

Choose the Right Phenix City Licensed Practical Nurse Training

Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Phenix City Alabama.



 

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