Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Schools
How to Choose the Right One Near Opelika Alabama
A first step that you need to take after deciding to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN program near Opelika AL that will help you enter the gratifying profession of nursing. California or Texas residents will instead enroll in an LVN school to train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Other than the names, there is no difference between an LVN and an LPN. They both work in health care facilities supervised by Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors and fulfill the same job functions. However, as we will discuss in this report, their routine job functions can vary based on the state where they are employed. Most nursing candidates start looking for schools that are close to their homes and of those lean towards the one that is least expensive. Although price and location are important 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 extremely important too. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's 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 a number of duties that they complete in the Opelika AL healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily job activities can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work functions being mandated by each state, the health care facilities or other Opelika AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN TrainingThere are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Opelika AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive 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 extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Attending LPN or LVN programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Many 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 facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option 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 supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Opelika AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Opelika 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Opelika 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 programs 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Opelika LPN or LVN School
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Opelika Alabama.