How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN Course Near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Fairbanks AK that will provide the proper education. If you reside 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 perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. While cost and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, such as 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 course that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform a number of basic nursing tasks. They work under doctors and registered nurses (RNs) in Fairbanks 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 DegreesSelecting the right LPN program is an important first step. Programs lead to a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree. Coursework for certificate, diploma, and degree programs can be completed online or in person. Hybrid programs allow aspiring LPNs to complete required courses in a virtual setting, while clinical hours must be fulfilled in person at an approved local site. Regardless of academic setting or type of program, LPNs in training cover much of the same core coursework. Full-time students usually take 12-15 credits per semester, learning necessary skills and knowledge by studying theories, completing lab assignments, and spending time in clinical settings. After completing LPN education requirements and earning their credential, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) before they can be licensed and hired to practice as an LPN.
Attending LVN and LPN Classes Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions 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 online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Fairbanks Ak as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks Alaska.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Fairbanks 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 best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Fairbanks AK 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 criteria for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 finish 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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 Fairbanks Licensed Practical Nurse School
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential 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 using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Fairbanks Alaska.