Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Colleges
How to Choose the Right One Near Bessemer Alabama
One of the first things that you need to do after deciding to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN program near Bessemer AL that will help guarantee your entrance into the gratifying profession of nursing. If you live in California or Texas, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. Apart from the names, there is no difference between an LPN and LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. But there are other credentials that a school must have and a selection should not be made based on location and cost alone. Such as do the schools offer job placement assistance and do they have high placement rates, which are both extremely important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's take a 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 a number of functions that they complete in the Bessemer AL healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Bessemer AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become an LPN near Bessemer AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Bessemer AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that 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 or LVN certificate or degree, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Bessemer AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Bessemer AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs and LVNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Bessemer AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN or LVN schools you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Bessemer AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Bessemer AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Bessemer LPN or LVN Program
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Bessemer Alabama.