Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Schools
How to Select the Right One Near Birmingham Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Birmingham AL that will furnish the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. Other than the names, there is no difference between an LVN and an LPN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. Although, as we will discuss in this article, their routine job functions can differ based on the state where they are employed. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. But there are additional qualifications that a school should have and a decision should not be made based on cost and location 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 even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous tasks that they carry out in the Birmingham AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients in need of medical care is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job duties being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Birmingham AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Training ProgramsThere are basically two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Birmingham AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 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.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Enrolling in LPN or LVN schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Birmingham AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. 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 household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
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 web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Birmingham AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Birmingham AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Birmingham 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 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 displeased 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 superb reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Birmingham AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham LPN or LVN School
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final 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 Birmingham Alabama.