How to Choose the Best LVN or LPN College Near Anchorage Alaska
Once you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Anchorage AK that will furnish the right 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, 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 supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While price and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program 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.
It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Start Your LPN or LVN Career Below
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform a number of basic nursing tasks. They work under doctors and registered nurses (RNs) in Anchorage AK medical offices, hospitals, and health care facilities. They also might provide in-home care. LPNs carry out nursing tasks that are more complex than those that completed by nurse's aides but less complex than the duties of an RN. LPNs monitor the health of patients and look for signs that their health is deteriorating or improving. They check vital signs and watch for changes in monitor readings. Licensed Practical Nurses perform basic nursing functions like changing bandages and wound dressings. They comfort patients and make sure basic needs such as food and fluid intake are in order. Licensed practical nurses may also administer medications in some settings depending on institutional and state standards. LPNs work in a variety of health care environments as part of a team that includes doctors, registered nurses, and others. They serve in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health clinics, and private physician practices. Some also provide health care services at peoples’ homes. Nurses have to be able to stand on their feet for most of the day. They may need to help lift or move patients as well.
LVN and LPN Certificates and DegreesIf you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you must first complete one year of coursework to earn a certificate or a diploma in an accredited LPN/LVN program. Most states have dozens of accredited colleges, technical schools, and hospitals that offer LPN/LVN programs. The first consideration you must make when becoming an LPN is which school you will attend. This can be a difficult choice. When choosing a school, choose one which is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. One well-known accrediting agency is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. After satisfying the LPN program coursework and grade requirements laid out by your state’s Board of Nursing, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN, or the National Council Licensure Examination. This exam is mandatory for all LPN/LVN's in the U.S. and can be scheduled through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Attending LVN and LPN Courses Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Anchorage AK. 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 conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN 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 pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Anchorage Ak as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Anchorage Alaska.
- Reputation. Look at 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 also. Additionally, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Anchorage AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Anchorage AK 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 criteria 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. Some 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 attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska 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 finish 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain 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 Anchorage Licensed Practical Nurse School
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Anchorage Alaska.