How to Select the Right LPN or LVN College Near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Fairbanks AK that will furnish the proper education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although price and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they complete in the Fairbanks AK healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical assistance is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job activities might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational responsibilities being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Fairbanks AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and DegreesThere are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Fairbanks AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Taking LVN and LPN Courses Online
Attending LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some 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 easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
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 start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous 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 select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. 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 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks Alaska.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Fairbanks AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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 prerequisites 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 positioning 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) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain 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 Vocational Nurse Training
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Fairbanks Alaska.