How to Pick an LPN School in Natchitoches Louisiana
Once you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Natchitoches LA that will furnish the appropriate training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are important considerations, 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 as well. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let’s take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have numerous functions that they perform in the Natchitoches LA health care facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Louisiana. Even though they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical care is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their routine work activities can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being regulated by each state, the Natchitoches LA healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two academic accreditations available in Louisiana that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive 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 extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Natchitoches LA, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Natchitoches LA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Louisiana community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Louisiana colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Louisiana board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Natchitoches LA area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Louisiana to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some Natchitoches LA area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Louisiana and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Natchitoches LA as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Natchitoches LA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited Louisiana schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Natchitoches LA school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Louisiana school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Natchitoches LA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are considering 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Natchitoches LA area to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Louisiana require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships in the Natchitoches LA area.
Choose the Right LPN Degree Natchitoches 71457
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Natchitoches LA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a licensed practical nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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