How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN College Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Vestavia Hills AL that will provide the right instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision 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 section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While price and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection 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 additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Start Your LPN or LVN Career Below
Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different functions that they carry out in the Vestavia Hills AL medical facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical assistance is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work functions might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Vestavia Hills AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Vestavia Hills AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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.
Taking LPN and LVN Online Classes
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Vestavia Hills AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once 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 pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Vestavia Hills Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Vestavia Hills Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Vestavia Hills 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 ideal way to acquire 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Vestavia Hills 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 requirements for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Certain states require a certain 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 provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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.
Pick the Best Vestavia Hills Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick an LPN school 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 develop a short list of schools to pick 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 a Licensed Practical Nurse in Vestavia Hills Alabama.