Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Classes
How to Pick the Right One Near Saraland Alabama
One of the first things that you need to do after making the decision to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN college near Saraland AL that will help you enter the gratifying field of nursing. California or Texas students will instead enroll in an LVN school to train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Apart from the titles, there is no difference between an LPN and LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However, as we will cover in this report, their routine job functions can vary based on the state where they are practicing. Most nursing candidates start looking for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and of those lean towards the one that is least expensive. But there are additional qualifications that a school must have and a decision should not be made based on cost and location alone. For example are the schools accredited or do they have high pass rates on the licensing exam, which are both very important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at the role 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 many different functions that they perform in the Saraland AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical care is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being mandated by each state, the medical facilities or other Saraland AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Saraland AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative 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. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Attending LPN or LVN programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Saraland AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions 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 online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Saraland AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Saraland AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Saraland 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 programs you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Saraland AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Saraland AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Saraland LPN or LVN School
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Saraland Alabama.