How to Find the Best LPN or LVN School Near Prichard Alabama
Once you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Prichard AL that will furnish the proper 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 health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for example 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 potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program 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 education and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
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 Prichard 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 Certificates and DegreesSelecting the right LPN program is an important first step. Programs lead to a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree. Coursework for certificate, diploma, and degree programs can be completed online or in person. Hybrid programs allow aspiring LPNs to complete required courses in a virtual setting, while clinical hours must be fulfilled in person at an approved local site. Regardless of academic setting or type of program, LPNs in training cover much of the same core coursework. Full-time students usually take 12-15 credits per semester, learning necessary skills and knowledge by studying theories, completing lab assignments, and spending time in clinical settings. After completing LPN education requirements and earning their credential, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) before they can be licensed and hired to practice as an LPN.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Courses
Attending LPN programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Prichard AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic 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 web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Prichard Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Prichard Alabama.
- Reputation. Check internet 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. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Prichard 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 acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Prichard AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help 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 prerequisites for LPNs vary 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. Certain states require a specific 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Prichard AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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 Prichard Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist 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 drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Prichard Alabama.