How to Pick an LPN Program in Lowell Massachusetts
Once you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Lowell MA that will deliver the proper education. 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 undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. Although price and location are relevant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let’s have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many different tasks that they carry out in the Lowell MA medical facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Massachusetts. Although they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical care is their dominion. 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 job functions might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being regulated by each state, the Lowell MA health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic accreditations available in Massachusetts that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Lowell MA, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Lowell MA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Massachusetts 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 wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after receiving 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lowell MA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training course is state approved. 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.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some Lowell MA area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Lowell MA as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Lowell MA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited Massachusetts schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Lowell MA school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Lowell MA 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 schools 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Lowell MA area to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Massachusetts require a certain 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 community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships in the Lowell MA area.
Select the Right LPN School Lowell 01850
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select an RN college 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 develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Lowell MA.
Why Did You Decide to Be an LPN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a licensed practical nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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