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How to Select the Best LPN or LVN Course Near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa Alabama licensed practical nurse checking patient chart with physicianNow that you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Tuscaloosa AL that will furnish the appropriate education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria 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 prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover 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

Tuscaloosa Alabama licensed practical nurse visiting with elderly woman in nursing home

A licensed practical nurse cares for the basic medical needs of a patient by monitoring their blood pressure and other vital signs and providing the person with the necessities of basic comforts like bathing or other needs. LPNs work in a variety of health care systems. Settings can range from Tuscaloosa AL clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, extended care facilities, clinics, and even private practices. Depending on each state’s regulations, LPNs may be involved in medical care such as inserting catheters, intravenous drips (IVs), assisting to deliver babies, or giving approved medication. They would be responsible for keeping accurate records of a patient such as their history, diagnosis, progress, and any new medical problem that may occur and inform the doctor or registered nurse. He or she is overseen by a doctor or registered nurse. Many facilities require work hours to exceed the normal 8-hour shifts. Therefore, according to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, it’s necessary to have physical strength and stamina due to the direct care to patients you will provide. An LPN should be compassionate, patient in difficult situations, and have interpersonal skills. They should have the ability to communicate clearly and be an attentive listener.

LPN Certificates and Degrees

After 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.

Taking LPN and LVN Classes Online

Tuscaloosa Alabama LPN assisting patient with crutches at doorAttending LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Tuscaloosa AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program 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, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of 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 select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Tuscaloosa Alabama.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Tuscaloosa 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specific 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 outstanding education, but also preps 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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.

Learn How to Become an LVN or LPN in Tuscaloosa

Choose the Right Tuscaloosa Licensed Vocational Nurse School

Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Tuscaloosa Alabama.



 

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