How to Select the Right LPN or LVN Training Near El Mirage Arizona
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near El Mirage AZ that will furnish the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than 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. But their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are an important part of the healthcare team, supporting doctors and nurses in caring for patients of all ages. LPNs work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care. An LPN’s duties can vary slightly depending on the healthcare setting and the state in which they work. For example, some states do not permit LPNs to administer medication or start IV drips. In other states, experienced LPNs are able to supervise and manage less-experienced nurses or nursing aides. Some of the typical duties of an LPN might include:
- Monitoring patients
- Taking patient vital signs and histories
- Performing routine assessments, such as checking blood pressure
- Changing bandages
- Inserting IVs or catheters
- Listening to patients’ concerns and reporting back to RNs and doctors
- Ensuring patients are comfortable
- Helping patients bathe or dress
LPNs can also work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including El Mirage AZ hospitals, doctor's offices and urgent care clinics. Due to an aging population, there is a growing need for LPNs in long-term care, such as rehabilitation centers, residential treatment centers and hospice. Most LPNs work in nursing and residential care facilities.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesIf you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you must first complete one year of coursework to earn a certificate or a diploma in an accredited LPN/LVN program. Most states have dozens of accredited colleges, technical schools, and hospitals that offer LPN/LVN programs. The first consideration you must make when becoming an LPN is which school you will attend. This can be a difficult choice. When choosing a school, choose one which is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. One well-known accrediting agency is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. After satisfying the LPN program coursework and grade requirements laid out by your state’s Board of Nursing, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN, or the National Council Licensure Examination. This exam is mandatory for all LPN/LVN's in the U.S. and can be scheduled through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Enrolling in LPN and LVN Online Courses
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in El Mirage AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that 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 start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near El Mirage Az as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near El Mirage Arizona.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local El Mirage 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 most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby El Mirage AZ community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Many 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 exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona 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 complete 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the El Mirage AZ medical 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.
Choose the Right El Mirage Licensed Practical Nurse School
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick 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 El Mirage Arizona.