How to Select the Best LVN or LPN Training Program Near Phenix City Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Phenix City AL that will furnish the necessary instruction. If you reside 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 medical 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 future nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
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.
LPN Certificates and DegreesAfter 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.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Classes Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Phenix City AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Phenix City Alabama.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Phenix City 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 obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Phenix City 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phenix City 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.
Pick the Right Phenix City Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Phenix City Alabama.