Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Colleges
How to Select the Best One Near Dothan Alabama
One of the first things that you need to do after making the decision to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to locate and enroll in the right LPN college near Dothan AL that will help guarantee your entrance into the rewarding vocation of nursing. If you live in Texas or California, 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. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. Many new students start looking for schools that are close to their homes and of those target the one that has the lowest tuition. Although price and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. 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 course that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the function 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 a number of tasks that they complete in the Dothan AL health facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, 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 normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical care is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job duties being governed by each state, the health care facilities or other Dothan AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Dothan AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option 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 finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Attending LPN or LVN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What 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 guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Dothan AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable 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 points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree program along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Dothan AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs and LVNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all 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 Dothan 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 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 superb reputation within the Dothan AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Dothan AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Dothan LPN or LVN Program
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within 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 healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Dothan Alabama.