How to Find the Right LVN or LPN School Near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Fairbanks AK that will furnish the appropriate 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, 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. But 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 the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example 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 first, let's have a 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?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they accomplish in the Fairbanks AK health facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Even though they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical care is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine work functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work duties being controlled by each state, the health care 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 numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN CoursesThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Fairbanks AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Taking LPN and LVN Online Courses
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Fairbanks AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What 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 web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt 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 lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Fairbanks Alaska.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, 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 acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask 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 differ 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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 Right Fairbanks Licensed Practical Nurse Training
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you enroll in an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose 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.