How to Select the Right LVN or LPN Training Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Tuscaloosa AL that will deliver 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 carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are significant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they complete in the Tuscaloosa AL health facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for monitoring 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 assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work activities might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job duties being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Tuscaloosa AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles 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 Certificates and DegreesThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Tuscaloosa AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Courses Online
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Tuscaloosa 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 workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Tuscaloosa Alabama.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments 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 speak with some nearby Tuscaloosa 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Tuscaloosa AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Many states require a certain 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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.
Choose the Right Tuscaloosa Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Tuscaloosa Alabama.