How to Enroll In the Right LPN or LVN College Near Anthem Arizona
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Anthem AZ that will deliver the right instruction. If you reside 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 perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
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 Anthem AZ hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.
LPN and LVN ProgramsAfter 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 Online Courses
Enrolling in LPN programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Anthem AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household commitments 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 active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
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 are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Anthem Az as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Anthem Arizona.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Anthem AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Anthem AZ community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing 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 certain 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 prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Anthem AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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.
Choose the Best Anthem Licensed Practical Nurse School
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick 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 Anthem Arizona.