Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training Programs
How to Pick the Best One Near Helena Alabama
One of the first things that you need to do after deciding to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to locate and enroll in the right LPN school near Helena AL that will help guarantee your entrance into the gratifying field of nursing. If you reside in California or Texas, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. Apart from the titles, there is no difference between an LVN and an LPN. Both practice in medical facilities under the supervision of Physicians and Registered Nurses and fulfill the same job duties. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. Many new students start looking for schools that are close to their homes and of those lean towards the one that has the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Such as 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 training program that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Job Description
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different duties that they complete in the Helena AL medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work duties being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Helena AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN TrainingThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Helena AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Attending LPN or LVN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Helena AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once 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 internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Helena AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower 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 and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Helena AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Helena 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Helena AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Helena AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Helena LPN or LVN School
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you select an LPN college 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 shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Helena Alabama.