How to Pick the Best LVN or LPN Course Near Selma Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Selma AL that will deliver the necessary training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, 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 course that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the function 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 have many different duties that they complete in the Selma AL health facilities where they are employed. 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 normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job activities might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work functions being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Selma AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Selma AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively 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 Courses
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Selma AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Selma Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. 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 selection 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Selma Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews 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 nearby Selma 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 obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Selma 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 prerequisites for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Selma AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain 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 Best Selma Licensed Practical Nurse School
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Selma Alabama.