How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Fairbanks AK that will provide the necessary training. 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 health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. While cost and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as 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 prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
The most basic definition for what LPNs do is that they provide routine care for the sick or injured. They work in conjunction with RNs to adhere to a care plan for each patient. RNs typically have a wider scope of practice than LPNs, such as interacting with doctors and administering medication through IVs. While an LPN’s scope of practice may be smaller than that of a registered nurse, there are still plenty of important nursing duties on their plates. LPN duties do vary somewhat by state and employer, but in general terms they provide hands-on patient care regardless of the location or employer. LPNs are responsible for a range of patient care and administrative tasks, which can include:
- Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
- Changing dressings or inserting catheters
- Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
- Assisting with tests or procedures
- Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
- Consulting with RNs on care plans
LPNs provide care in a variety of healthcare settings. More and more patients are seeking care in or near their homes, which has resulted in many LPN jobs moving away from the hospital environment and into more specialized settings. A few of the most common places LPNs work include Fairbanks AK hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.
LPN Certificates and DegreesAfter 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.
Attending LPN and LVN Courses Online
Attending LPN programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things 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 web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, 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 lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks Alaska.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. 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 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 most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Fairbanks 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 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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 Fairbanks Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Fairbanks Alaska.