How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN Training Program Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Vestavia Hills AL that will provide the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart 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 differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While cost and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
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 Vestavia Hills 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.
LVN and LPN CoursesAfter 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.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Online Courses
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Vestavia Hills AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it easier 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 internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, 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 important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Vestavia Hills 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 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 call some local Vestavia Hills 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 best 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 too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Vestavia Hills AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help 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 vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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 Right Vestavia Hills Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Vestavia Hills Alabama.