How to Select the Right LVN or LPN School Near Mesa 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 Mesa AZ that will deliver the right instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous duties that they accomplish in the Mesa AZ health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. While they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their routine job functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their job responsibilities being governed by each state, the health facilities or other Mesa AZ healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are generally two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN or LVN near Mesa AZ. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering 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 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Enrolling in LPN and LVN Courses Online
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Mesa AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy 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 start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Mesa Arizona.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Mesa 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 ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check 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 differ 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mesa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help 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
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Mesa Arizona.