How to Enroll In the Right LVN or LPN College Near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Fairbanks 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, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are an important part of the healthcare team, supporting doctors and nurses in caring for patients of all ages. LPNs work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care. An LPN’s duties can vary slightly depending on the healthcare setting and the state in which they work. For example, some states do not permit LPNs to administer medication or start IV drips. In other states, experienced LPNs are able to supervise and manage less-experienced nurses or nursing aides. Some of the typical duties of an LPN might include:
- Monitoring patients
- Taking patient vital signs and histories
- Performing routine assessments, such as checking blood pressure
- Changing bandages
- Inserting IVs or catheters
- Listening to patients’ concerns and reporting back to RNs and doctors
- Ensuring patients are comfortable
- Helping patients bathe or dress
LPNs can also work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, doctor's offices and urgent care clinics. Due to an aging population, there is a growing need for LPNs in long-term care, such as rehabilitation centers, residential treatment centers and hospice. Most LPNs work in nursing and residential care facilities.
LPN CoursesIf 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.
Enrolling in LVN and LPN Courses Online
Attending LPN programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
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 guidelines to begin 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks Alaska.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Fairbanks AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Fairbanks AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Certain states require a specific 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain 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.
Choose the Right Fairbanks Licensed Practical Nurse School
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Fairbanks Alaska.