How to Find the Right LVN or LPN Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Fairbanks AK that will furnish the proper instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. 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 take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different functions that they complete in the Fairbanks AK medical facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being controlled by each state, the medical facilities or other Fairbanks AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Fairbanks AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Classes
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited 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 hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once 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 options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Fairbanks Ak as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks Alaska.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine 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 get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local 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 requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Many 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 attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain 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.
Pick the Best Fairbanks Licensed Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick 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 produce a shortlist of schools to select 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 a Licensed Practical Nurse in Fairbanks Alaska.