Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Courses
How to Choose the Right One Near Athens Alabama
A first step that you need to take after making the decision to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to locate and enroll in the right LPN school near Athens AL that will help you enter the gratifying vocation of nursing. California or Texas residents will instead enroll in an LVN school to learn to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and LVN. Both practice in medical facilities supervised by Physicians and Registered Nurses and fulfill identical job functions. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. Most new students start searching for schools that are close to their homes and of those lean towards the one that has the lowest tuition. While price and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. For example are the schools accredited or do they have high pass rates on the licensing exam, which are both very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they complete in the Athens AL health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical care is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being governed by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Athens AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Athens AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other 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.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Attending LPN or LVN schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Athens AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number 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 approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Athens AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 or degree program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Athens AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs and LVNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an accredited 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 comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Athens AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN or LVN 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 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 good reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Athens AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Find Out More About Becoming an LPN or LVN in Athens
Enroll in the Best Athens LPN or LVN Program
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Athens Alabama.