How to Choose the Best LPN or LVN College Near Mesa Arizona
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Mesa AZ that will deliver the appropriate 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, aside 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 guidance 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 section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the closest 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 concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are additional questions that you should ask potential 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 job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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Job Duties of an LPN or LVN
Licensed Practical Nurses have many tasks that they accomplish in the Mesa AZ medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. Although they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being regulated by each state, the health care facilities or other Mesa AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN TrainingThere are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN or LVN near Mesa AZ. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, 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 course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Attending LPN and LVN Courses Online
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Mesa AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for 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 practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes 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 can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic 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 online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Mesa Az as well as within Arizona and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Mesa 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 also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Mesa AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Mesa 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 Mesa AZ healthcare 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.
Choose the Best Mesa Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Mesa Arizona.