How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN College Near Maricopa Arizona
Once you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Maricopa AZ that will furnish the proper 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 carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. While tuition and location are significant considerations, 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 various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they perform in the Maricopa AZ health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients in need of medical attention is their dominion. Each 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
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job functions being governed by each state, the medical facilities or other Maricopa AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN or LVN near Maricopa AZ. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from 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 type of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and ideally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Courses Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Maricopa AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once 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 checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Maricopa 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 manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Maricopa Arizona.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Maricopa 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Maricopa 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 criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an approved school. Many states require a certain 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 excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Maricopa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain 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.
Pick the Right Maricopa Licensed Practical Nurse School
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Maricopa Arizona.