How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN Program Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Tuscaloosa AL that will furnish the proper training. 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 carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties 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 the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. While price and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example 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 cover later in this article. But first, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they carry out in the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being governed by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Tuscaloosa AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Tuscaloosa AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Classes
Attending LPN programs 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 almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things 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 use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Tuscaloosa Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Tuscaloosa Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Tuscaloosa 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 get 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 requirements 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 placing 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 are different 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- 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 Tuscaloosa Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, 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 healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Tuscaloosa Alabama.