How to Select an LPN School in Topsfield Massachusetts
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Topsfield MA that will deliver the appropriate 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, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. While price and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are additional 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 first, let’s have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many different functions that they carry out in the Topsfield MA healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Massachusetts. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients seeking medical assistance is their domain. Every 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 functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work duties being regulated by each state, the Topsfield MA medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two academic credentials offered in Massachusetts that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Topsfield MA, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Topsfield MA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Topsfield MA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to 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 prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make sure that the training 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 prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many Topsfield MA area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many 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 organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Topsfield MA along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Topsfield MA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited Massachusetts schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Topsfield MA school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Topsfield 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Topsfield MA area to assist students gain employment.
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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships in the Topsfield MA area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Course Topsfield 01983
Deciding on the best Licensed Practical Nurse college is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Topsfield MA.
Why Did You Choose to Become an LPN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming an LPN, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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