How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN School Near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Casa Grande AZ that will deliver the right training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria 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 extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course 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 different functions that they perform in the Casa Grande AZ medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. Although they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their work functions being governed by each state, the health facilities or other Casa Grande AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN ProgramsThere are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Casa Grande AZ. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter 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 effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Taking LVN and LPN Courses Online
Attending LPN programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Casa Grande AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN 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, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Casa Grande Az as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Casa Grande Arizona.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Casa Grande AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Casa Grande 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) as well as 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 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 good reputation within the Casa Grande AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain 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 Right Casa Grande Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Casa Grande Arizona.