How to Select an LPN Program in Dothan Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Dothan AL that will furnish the right education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will address later in this article. But first, let’s take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have numerous functions that they accomplish in the Dothan AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for managing 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 assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their daily job activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational responsibilities being mandated by each state, the Dothan AL health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic credentials offered in Alabama that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Dothan AL, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Dothan AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Dothan AL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Training
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many Dothan AL area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Dothan AL as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 degree or certificate program along with the Dothan AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Dothan AL school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact 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 judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Dothan AL area to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships in the Dothan AL area.
Select the Right LPN School Dothan 36301
Selecting the best Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LVN in Dothan AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become an LPN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a licensed practical nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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