How to Choose the Right LPN or LVN College Near Buckeye Arizona
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Buckeye AZ that will provide the necessary instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria 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 very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education 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 Buckeye AZ 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 LVN and LPN Classes Online
Enrolling in LPN programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Buckeye AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain 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 accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that 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 guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Buckeye Az as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Buckeye Arizona.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Buckeye AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Buckeye AZ community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 displeased 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 Buckeye AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help 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 Buckeye Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Buckeye Arizona.