Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training
How to Choose the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
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 program near Anchorage AK that will help guarantee your entrance into the rewarding profession of nursing. Texas or California residents will instead enroll in an LVN school to train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LVN and an LPN. They both perform 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 daily job activities can differ depending on the state where they are employed. Many new students begin by looking for schools that are close to their homes and of those target the one that has the lowest tuition. But there are additional qualifications that a school should have and a selection should not be made based on cost and location alone. 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 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 education and licensing process.
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What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of duties that they accomplish in the Anchorage AK health care facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. While they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the supervision 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. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their routine work functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Anchorage AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Anchorage AK. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Attending LPN or LVN programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Anchorage AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that 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 choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Anchorage AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Anchorage AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along with 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Anchorage AK 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 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 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 Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Anchorage AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Anchorage LPN or LVN School
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Anchorage Alaska.