How to Find the Right LPN College in Columbia Falls Montana
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Columbia Falls MT that will provide the necessary instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, 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. But their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are significant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But to start with, let’s look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Duties
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have numerous tasks that they perform in the Columbia Falls MT healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Montana. Although they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients seeking medical attention is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their work duties being controlled by each state, the Columbia Falls MT 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 different specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two academic credentials offered in Montana that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Columbia Falls MT, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 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 offered in the Columbia Falls MT area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Montana community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Montana 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 might wish 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 generally a two 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.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Montana board of nursing for any state mandates.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Columbia Falls MT area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Montana to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Training
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some Columbia Falls MT area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Montana and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Columbia Falls MT as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Columbia Falls MT school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited Montana schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Columbia Falls MT school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Montana or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Montana school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Columbia Falls MT 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative 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 Columbia Falls MT area to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Montana require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships in the Columbia Falls MT area.
Enroll in the Right LPN College Columbia Falls 59912
Enrolling in the best Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects 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 situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Columbia Falls MT.
Why Did You Want to Be a Licensed Practical Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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