Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Colleges
How to Choose the Right One Near Athens Alabama
One of the first things that you need to do after making the decision to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN school near Athens AL that will help you enter the rewarding profession of nursing. If you live in California or Texas, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. Apart from the names, there is no difference between an LVN and an LPN. Both work in health care facilities under the supervision of Physicians and Registered Nurses and perform identical job functions. However, as we will discuss in this report, their daily job functions can vary based on the state where they are employed. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Such as are the schools accredited or do they have high pass rates on the licensing exam, which are both extremely important too. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction 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 healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their job duties being controlled by each state, the health facilities or other Athens AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are basically two academic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Athens AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing 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 seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another 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.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Enrolling in LPN or LVN programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Athens AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Athens AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Athens AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs and LVNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out 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 opinions 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Athens AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Athens LPN or LVN School
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Athens Alabama.