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How to Pick the Right LVN or LPN College Near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert Arizona LPN reviewing patient chart with physicianOnce you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Gilbert AZ that will provide the proper education. 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 carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. While price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only qualifications 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 also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.

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LPN and LVN Job Description

Gilbert Arizona licensed practical nurse checking on female senior in nursing home

Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they carry out in the Gilbert AZ healthcare facilities where they work. 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 typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical attention is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine job activities may include:

    • Taking vital signs
    • Providing medications
    • Setting up IV drips
    • Observing patients
    • Getting blood or urine samples
    • Taking care of patient records
    • Helping doctors or RNs with procedures

In addition to their job functions being governed by each state, the health facilities or other Gilbert AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LVN and LPN Courses

There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Gilbert AZ. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, 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 option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 attests that the course of study adequately 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

Gilbert Arizona licensed practical nurse greeting man on crutches at entranceEnrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Gilbert AZ. Many 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 carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs

Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Gilbert Az as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final 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 in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Gilbert Arizona.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Gilbert 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 most effective 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 associations with local Gilbert AZ community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 are different 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain 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.

More Info on How to Become an LVN or LPN in Gilbert

Pick the Best Gilbert Licensed Practical Nurse School

Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 Gilbert Arizona.



 

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